The Highlanders bounced back from their defeat to the Chiefs to propel themselves back into the Finals hunt with a win over the Blues.
Alex Hodgman saw red as a depleted Highlanders side dealt a blow to the Blues' Super Rugby Aotearoa Finals hopes with a hard-earned 35-29 victory on Friday.
Hodgman's dismissal came in the final 10 minutes of a close contest in Dunedin, for a wild high tackle on James Lentjes.
The Highlanders capitalised, with Michael Collins going over for what was ultimately the winning try – Hoskins Sotutu's late score proving nothing but a consolation.
It was a rollercoaster encounter, with the lead swapped four times in the first half, Josh Ioane tallying up 12 points for the hosts, though his brother Rieko was one of two Blues try scorers in the opening 40 minutes.
Jona Nareki's try and Mitchell Hunt's penalty nosed the Highlanders ahead after the interval, and though Nepo Laulala crossed to apply pressure, Hodgman's red card proved decisive.
Having lost to the Chiefs last time out, the Highlanders are now up to third, one point behind the second-placed Blues.