The Blues have retained top spot in the Super Rugby Pacific standings with a comprehensive 47-13 rout of New Zealand rivals the Highlanders.

Hooker Kurt Eklund scored a brace of tries, one in each half, for the Blues, who ran in seven in all on Saturday at Eden Park to snap the three-game winning streak of their rivals and cement their status as the team to beat in this year's competition.

The Blues made some major changes late, losing Marcel Renata, Bryce Heem and Stephen Perofeta.

However, it failed to halt their momentum as they controlled the contest

The hosts led 21-13 at halftime as Timoci Tavatavanawai's ninth-minute try gave the visitors hope.

However, the Blues' class shone through in the second half as their forward pack asserted themselves on the game.

Kade Banks touched down in the corner for his first Super Rugby Pacific try to start the onslaught as the visitors had little answers.

Eklund's second secured the bonus point for the Blues, with Taufa Funaki and Caleb Clarke also crossing after the break.

"Coming into this game, we knew the 'landers had won three on the trot and they had momentum coming in and we knew it was going to be a grudge match and it showed in the first half," Blues captain Dalton Papali'i said.

"We were going head-to-head and then that second half we talked about nailing our roles and giving away stupid penalties and once we did that, we were able to get the momentum and put teams to the sword.

"We knew they were going to play fast so we had to match it."

It cements their spot on top of the ladder, with the bonus point giving them a three point advantage over the Hurricanes.

Meanwhile, the Highlanders remain in seventh before their clash with the Fijian Drua next weekend.

Blues 47 (Tries: Kurt Eklund 2, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Cole Forbes, Kade Banks, Taufa Funaki, Caleb Clarke; Cons: Harry Plummer 6) def Highlanders 13 (Tries: Timoci Tavatavanawai; Cons: Cam Millar; Pens: Millar 2)


Blues: 15 Cole Forbes, 14 AJ Lam, 13 Bryce Heem, 12 Corey Evans, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Harry Plummer, 9 Sam Nock, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Dalton Papali’i (captain), 6 Adrian Choat, 5 Sam Darry, 4 Laghlan McWhannell, 3 Marcel Renata, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Ofa Tu’ungafasi.
Replacements: 16 Soane Vikena, 17 Mason Tupaea, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Josh Beehre, 20 Cameron Suafoa, 21 Taufa Funaki, 22 Stephen Perofeta, 23 Kade Banks

Highlanders: 15 Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, 14 Timoci Tavatavanawai, 13 Tanielu Tele’a, 12 Jake Te Hiwi, 11 Martín Bogado, 10 Cameron Millar, 9 Folau Fakatava, 8 Nikora Broughton, 7 Sean Withy, 6 Oliver Haig, 5 Fabian Holland, 4 Mitch Dunshea, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Henry Bell, 1 Ethan de Groot (captain).
Replacements: 16 Jack Taylor, 17 Ayden Johnstone, 18 Saula Ma’u, 19 Will Tucker, 20 Will Stodartt, 21 James Arscott, 22 Sam Gilbert, 23 Finn Hurley.

Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant referees: Dan Waenga; Mike Winter
TMO: Richard Kelly