A poor second half meant the Blues had to cling on for a 36-32 Super Rugby victory over the Melbourne Rebels at Eden Park last night.
Frank Halai scored a hat-trick as the Blues blitzed the Rebels with five first-half tries.
Halai and centres Francis Saili and Rene Ranger were in intimidating form, providing the power and pace of the Blues backline in the opening spell.
Saili grabbed a brace before half-time but the Blues were held scoreless in the second half until nine minutes from time as the Rebels barged their way back into the match with 15 unanswered points.
Ranger went over for a converted try with a clever move from the side of ruck after 71 minutes to make the score 36-25.
There was still time for Woodward to crash over to give the Rebels a second bonus point but the chance of a third win of the season was gone.
The Blues skipper Ali Williams, whose team took five points from the encounter to stay very much in the playoff race, admits it was ugly.
James O'Connor, one of the favourites to take the playmaker role for Australia against the British and Irish Lions next month, was forced off the field midway through the first half with what appeared to be a chest injury.