In a nail-biting encounter, the Blues brushed aside the Highlanders 27-24 at packed Eden Park on Saturday.
The Auckland side were made to work hard for the victory which now sees them head into a bye next weekend with three straight wins.
It must be mentioned that the Highlanders did have two opportunities late in the game to equalise but unfortunately Mitchell Hunt missed two attempts at goal.
Let’s take a closer look to see who the five players of the match were this morning:
Caleb Clarke (Blues)
The 21-year-old, who is the son of Eroni Clarke, was magnificent on attack and defence today and should be in line for call-up to the All Blacks squad in the coming months. Clarke made 85% of his tackles against the Highlanders but it’s his attacking statistics that are the most impressive.
He made 85 metres with ball in hand, beat five defenders and produced two clean breaks along with his try assist and try.
Dalton Papali’i (Blues)
The 22-year-old flanker is one of the rising stars in New Zealand rugby and his improvement over the past few months has been massive. Papali’i put in a big shift for the Blues and managed to play a full 80 minutes.
His notable statistics today was that he made 10 tackles, carried the ball six times and managed to score two important tries for his team.
Shannon Frizell (Highlanders)
Although on the losing team, the New Zealand international put in a solid performance in 68 minutes of play. The 26-year-old flanker made 11 tackles out of his 13 tackles today and managed to do some work with ball in hand.
Frizell might have only made 13 metres with ball in hand, but he made 4 carries, beat two defenders and scored a try which at one stage tied up the game for the Highlanders.
Rieko Ioane (Blues)
The All Black star has been a bit quiet in recent week’s but put his hand up today and really impressed at outside centre. On attack, the 23-year-old carried the ball for 55 metres and managed to beat two defenders for his try which was wonderfully setup by Caleb Clarke.
It is also important to mention that Ioane made 100% of his tackles today.
Hoskins Sotutu (Blues)
The Blues' no.8 continued his outstanding form for the Auckland based side with another outstanding game.
He stepped up right at the end of the clash to stall the Highlanders' maul and deny the visitors a late match winning try.
Last week, Sotutu was a hero on attack, this week it was on defence as he made 10 tackles and one turnover but his impact on defence saw the Blues' score a try off one of his charge downs as well as him denying the Highlanders at the death.