Blues 16 - 34 Highlanders, Eden Park
Flanker Shannon Frizell scored a hat-trick as Highlanders went on to beat Blues 16-34 in their Super Rugby clash at Eden Park on Friday.
The win has taken Highlanders to the third position in the New Zealand Conference with 24 points while Blues with their sixth defeat languish at the bottom of the table.
The Highlanders looked dominant from the start as Dillon Hunt capitalised on a clearance kick from Bryn Gatland to score the opening try in the first minute. They continued to pile on the lead as four minutes later Frizell crashed at close range to score his first try and a conversion from Lima Sopoaga made it 0-12.
The first response from Blues came in the 9th minute when Jonathan Ruru touched down and Gatland even though missed on the conversion, kicked two penalty goals to bring the gap to one point.
As the half time was approaching, Frizell made full use of the offload from Luke Whitelock to score his second as the visitors headed into the break with an 11-20 margin.
The Highlanders upped the ante after the break as Frizell offloaded to scrum-half Kayne Hammington as they went on to claim the bonus point and Sopoaga was spot on with the conversion. Aaron and Ben Smith played a pivotal role in setting up the fifth try for Highlanders that saw Frizell going over the line for the third time and Sopoaga's extras stretched their lead to 23 points.
Tumua Manu scored a consolation try for Blues in the 70th minute but it was Highlanders, who went on to win the game with a 16-34 scoreline.