The Blues beat the Sunwolves 28-20 in a scrappy game at QBE Stadium, North Harbour.
Rieko Ioane scored four tries to stave off a spirited Sunwolves for the Blues’ second win in 10 Super Rugby home games.
The 21-year-old scored twice either side of the break to secure a rare win for the beleaguered Auckland franchise.
The winger becomes the fourth Blues’ player to score four tries in a Super Rugby match, joining Mils Muliaina, Joeli Vidiri and Doug Howlett.
Uwe Helu crashed over in the 63rd-minute, to reduce the deficit to a one-score ball-game after Semisi Masirewa’s yellow card saw Ioane go over for his fourth.
The Sunwolves could never keep possession for a sustained period and were camped inside their half as the Blues had the majority of possession and territory.
The pressure told when Nathan Vella was the second Japanese player to be sin-binned for a deliberate knock-down on the Sunwolves’ try line.
Otera Black secured the game with the resulting penalty, to the relief of his side and Head Coach Leon MacDonald.
Ioane’s double gave the Blues a slender two-point advantage at the break of a scrappy game, littered with penalties and handling errors.
Rikiya Matsuda scored all the Sunwolves’ points in the first half, kicking two penalties and converting his 30th-minute try to put his side back in front 8-13.
Ioane crossed for his second on the stroke of half time to level after Matsuda’s controversial try.
The ball looked to have been knocked on in the build-up by number eight Rahboni Warren Vosayaco after he collected Michael Little’s behind-the-back pass.
It did not matter, as the Blues ramped up the heat on the Sunwolves after the interval, running in two more Ioane tries and deny the visitors a losing bonus-point.
Final Score: Blues 28 (15) Sunwolves 20 (13)
Tries – R. Ioane (4)
Pen – Plummer, Black
Con – Plummer
Tries – Matsuda, Helu
Pen – Matsuda (2)
Con – Matsuda (2)
Cards – Masirewa (Yellow, 56′), Vella (Yellow, 74′)
15 Melani Nanai, 14 Tanielu Tele’a, 13 TJ Faiane, 12 Sonny Bill Williams (c), 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Harry Plummer, 9 Augustine Pulu; 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 James Parsons, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Marcel Renata, 18 Lua Li, 19 Scott Scrafton, 20 Dalton Papalii, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Otere Black, 23 Levi Aumua.
15 Semisi Masirewa, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Michael Little (c), 11 Jamie Henry, 10 Rikiya Matsuda, 9 Jamie Booth, 8 Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, 7 Shuhei Matsuhashi, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 James Moore, 4 Tom Rowe, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2 Atsushi Sakate, 1 Pauliasi Manu
Replacements: 16 Nathan Vella, 17 Alex Woonton, 18 Asaeli Ai Valu, 19 Uwe Helu, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Keisuke Uchida, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Phil Burleigh
Match Officials and details
Date : Saturday 9 March
Venue : North Harbour Stadium, Albany
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1: James Munro
Assistant Ref 2: Dan Waenga
TMO :Glenn Newman