The Highlanders have recorded their third win of the Super Rugby season, a dominant second-half performance crucial in their 24-12 victory over the Blues in Dunedin tonight.
The southerners showed real resolve, particularly at scrum time and at the breakdown in the second half, to bounce back from last week's 43-17 thumping at the hands of the Crusaders.
They led 7-5 at halftime, a 27th minute try to flanker Shannon Frizzell and Josh Ioane's conversion enough to edge Tom Robinson's 23rd minute opener for the Blues.
The Aucklanders had snapped a 20-game winless streak against New Zealand opposition when they beat the Highlanders 33-26 three weeks ago, but never looked like delivering a repeat performance at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
The Highlanders slowly took control as a 50th minute penalty try, courtesy of some outstanding scrum work, was backed up by a Matt Faddes intercept try six minutes later.
The well-organised Highlanders defence kept the Blues at bay for almost the entire second half, until fullback Melani Nanai scored form a perfectly placed Harry Plummer cross-kick in the final minute of the game to introduce some respectability to the scoreline.