The Highlanders have climbed up to second in the local Super Rugby conference and into the playoffs places, following Friday night's 27-20 win over South Africans the Bulls in Dunedin.
Blues reject Malakai Fekitoa starred as the Highlanders ran in three unanswered tries after the Bulls scored the first seven-pointer and were all level at 13-all at half-time. Fekitoa set up the second with a magical run before the centre scored the third himself.
Too many mistakes cost the visitors, especially second-half handling errors, while the home side regularly countered the Bulls' feared lineout drives and general mauling in the red zone with some spirited - and frequently illegal - defence.
The Highlanders are fifth and have leapfrogged the Hurricanes and Blues, who have the bye, but the southern side now head into the bye week themselves before their South African tour.
The ACT Brumbies are on top of Super Rugby after pipping the Queensland Reds 23-20 in Brisbane.