Flyhalf Luke McAlister was the conductor and centre Rua Tipoki the executor as the Blues demolished the Western Force 39-8 in a Vodacom Super 14 clash in Auckland on Friday.
The Blues led 20-3 at the break and 32-3 with half an hour to play, before taking their foot off the pedal and resting several first-choice stars ahead of the trip to South Africa.
McAlister, apart from an average kicking display, was simply outstanding as he pulled all the right strings that saw the Blues deliver a performance that will have made other contenders for this first Super 14 title sit up and take notice.
But it was not just those two men who shone. The Blues pack toyed with their Force counterparts and that dominance led to a plethora of quality ball for McAlister to work his magic for the rest of his backline.
The Blues backs all looked dangerous with ball in hand and on this form will treat South African crowds to a feast of running rugby. Flank Daniel Braid was tireless throughout the 80 minutes, but he was well supported by the rest of his pack.
The Blues leave for SA on Sunday and will play the Sharks, Cheetahs and Cats on their three-match tour. All three SA teams will have to step up if they hope to hold the Blues back.
Tipoki, who was full of running all match, fed off McAlisterâ€™s hard work and ran in three excellent tries â€“ the first hat-trick in Super 14 rugby.
In total the Blues scored six tries, but it could have been many more, but for the stoic defensive effort from the Force that must be commended for never giving up.
The Force had only a few chances to attack and never gave up trying. They were rewarded when fullback Cameron Shepherd scored a good consolation try five minutes from time.
Try: Luke McAlister, Ben Atiga, Rua Tipoki 3, Isa Nacewa
Con: McAlister 3
Pen: McAlister 1
Try: Cameron Shepherd
Pen: Shepherd 1
By Andrew Hollely