Bernard Foley cost his team an opening Super Rugby win. Photo: EPA

WELLINGTON The gutsy Hurricanes edged past the Wallaby-laden Waratahs 20-19.

Bernard Foley overtook Matt Burke's all-time 959-point scoring record for the New South Wales team, but ended up the villain by missing a crucial penalty two minutes from time that would have won the game.

"We came up against a tough team," said Hurricanes skipper TJ Perenara.

"But we were down the end of the field for a large part of that second half and we applied pressure and that's what got us there in the end."    

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson opted to keep Kurtley Beale on the sidelines to manage the workloads of players in a World Cup year.

He instead paired newly-arrived veterans Karmichael Hunt and Adam Ashley-Cooper in the centres, and they seamlessly slotted in alongside Israel Folau and Foley.

The Hurricanes, missing two-time world player of the year Beauden Barrett, conceded six penalties in the opening 17 minutes before they started to find some rhythm.

They got the first try, working the ball to the line and on the 10th phase driving over with Ardie Savea making the touchdown as they went to the break 12-10 behind.

The Waratahs were dominant early in the second period, and Folau made a clever pickup from a sloppy pass and after making ground offloaded to Curtis Rona who scored in the corner.

But the Hurricanes responded and Savea had a try disallowed after a review for an elbow charge on Michael Hooper in the build-up.

Three minutes later Ben Lam suffered the same fate, with his arm shown to go into touch before he grounded the ball by the corner flag.

But the pressure paid off with Du'Plessis Kirifi getting his first try in Super Rugby and Jordie Barrett coverting to give them a 20-18 lead with five minutes left.

Foley then had opportunity to be a hero, but blew the chance.