The Blues produced a dominant performance at home to beat the Highlanders 30-12 in their Vodacom Super Rugby match in Auckland on Saturday.
Although they reversed their first round loss to their fellow New Zealanders, the Blues were still one try short of the bonus point, and given the dominance they enjoyed on the night, will rue their missed chances.
Working superbly as a unit up front, the Blues ensured the pressure was all on the visitors, scored both sides of halftime and then eventually pulled away for an easy win.
The Highlanders struggled to get out of their own half, and their kicking game was poor, leading to several errors which the Blues exploited on the night.
And when the luck is going your way, it really goes your way, as the Blues received every lucky bounce in their favour, right from the very start.
It was that way for the opening try when Bryn Hall kicked the ball into a Highlanders defender, only to have it bounce off him and straight into the hands of George Moala for the try.
Lima Sopoaga kept the visitors in the hunt with three straight penalties to retake the lead, but the Blues then powered ahead after the half hour to never look back.
Simon Hickey’s penalty put them in front, and it was Hall again who sparked the team, breaking off the lineout to be stopped inches from the line, whereafter Ma’a Nonu went over with help from Stephen Luatua from close range.
Hickey extended the lead early in the second half, with Sopoaga scoring the last points for the Highlanders shortly afterwards.
And then, when Charles Piutau scored the game was all over bar the shouting, with the only question left whether the Blues could get the bonus point or not.
They kept the Highlanders pinned in their own half for large chunks of the second half, with Hickey adding another penalty without the team ever looking as if they were chasing the bonus point.
In the end the game fizzled out as both sides continued to spar, and the Highlanders will head back south knowing it was a night they’d rather forget.
Blues - Tries: George Moala, Ma'a Nonu, Charles Piutau. Conversions: Simon Hickey(3). Penalties: Hickey(3).
Highlanders - Tries:. Conversions:. Penalties: Lima Sopoaga(4)