Blues clinical in five-try win

The Blues have sharpened up for next week's clash against the defending champion Crusaders with a 39-17 demolition of the Highlanders in their Super Rugby Aotearoa match at Eden Park in Auckland.

Otere Black marshalled the Blues attack well, scoring their first try after 10 minutes from a Rieko Ioane offload. He set up their second soon after, finding Ioane in space for a powerful run which was finished off with a try by Caleb Clarke.

Black converted both tries and added a penalty to give the Blues a 17-3 lead at halftime.

Fijian winger Emoni Narawa extended the margin with a try three minutes into the second half, as the Blues pack continued to establish their dominance, particularly at the set piece.

Kurt Ecklund's 50th minute try and Akira Ioane's in the 64th minute put the home team beyond reach, although the Highlanders regained some respectability with tries to skipper Ash Dixon and replacement halfback Folau Fakatava.

Black claimed 19 points in the Blues second straight win at the start of the new Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign.

He scored a try, two penalties and four conversions as Leon MacDonald's team secured a bonus point from a dominant display against the outclassed Highlanders to move into second place in the early season standings.

The Highlanders' hopes were hit further with the loss through injury to Jona Nareki, who starred in their win over the Chiefs last week, while Josh Dickson entered the sin bin in the dying minutes of the half to heap more pressure on the visitors.

The Blues will go into their clash with the Crusaders next week five points behind Scott Robertson's team, having played one game fewer.