Runaway leaders the Hurricanes have added to a miserable Super Rugby season for the Blues with a 29-5 win in slippery conditions at Eden Park.
The visitors scored four tries and the last, a spectacular finish by Nehe Milner-Skudder, contained added significance.
The bonus point that earned meant only two teams can now overtake the Hurricanes at the top of the overall competition table – fellow New Zealanders the Chiefs and the Highlanders.
The win was the Hurricanes’ 12th win of the regular season, surpassing the franchise record of 11 achieved in 2006, the year they made their sole appearance in a Super Rugby final.
For the Blues, the result continued a hugely disappointing campaign that has produced just three wins in 14 matches.
Auckland’s rain made for tough conditions on Saturday night, but both sides made a lively start, running the ball from deep, before the contest settled in a wet-weather arm-wrestle.
Clear-cut chances were in short supply early on and there were understandable handling lapses, before the Hurricanes blew the contest open in the last six minutes of the opening spell.
Up 3-0 from an early penalty, they finally made their heavy territorial advantage pay with two quick tries, both set up by their forwards.
Prop Chris Eves grabbed the first when the Hurricanes chose to kick for the corner from a penalty.
The Blues stopped the initial line-out drive, but the Hurricanes kept the attack going for Eves to crash over.
Minutes later, the Hurricanes were again on the attack, their forwards pounding at the line before the ball was worked wide for half-back TJ Perenara to dot down.
They went further ahead on 54 minutes, after hooker Dane Coles powered his way over.
Rookie first five-eighth Otere Black landed his third conversion to push the score out to 24-0.
The Blues had limited chances in good field position, but finally got on the board with a try to debutant back Matt Vaega.
However, the Hurricanes struck back quickly through Milner-Skudder who, playing on the wing rather than at fullback, produced a brilliant diving put-down in the corner.