The Highlanders' hopes of a semi final place in the Super 14 rugby competition are fading after going down 26 - 6 to the Blues at Eden Park.
The bonus point victory sees the Blues move into second place for now, while the Highlanders are all but gone, with captain Jimmy Cowan facing a judiciary hearing after being red carded.
The Highlanders were down 21-6 when Cowan was sent off on the hour mark for a late tackle, but were beginning to threaten the Blues line, and coach Moore says he thought the decision was probably a little bit harsh.
Cowan copped the red card after the refereee Stuart Dickenson ruled he'd used a shoulder instead of his arms in a late tackle on the Blues first-five Jimmy Gopperth.
The All Black halfback says his first instinct was that he'd caught the Blues first-five under his shoulders as he was clearing the ball from deep in his in-goal area.
Cowan says he was committed to the tackle but he's just disappointed he let his team down.
The Blues coach Pat Lam says while he's pleased with the win, he'd have liked to have seen them score more than one try when the Highlanders were down to 14 men.
But Lam's happy with one aspect of the Blues performance as they confined the visitors' scoring to a couple of penalties.
In Canberra, the ACT Brumbies kept their season alive with a come-from-behind 32-31 victory over the Bulls.