Man-of-the-match Akira Ioane flattens Aaron Smith as Blues overpower Highlanders

Blues No 8 Akira Ioane had an afternoon to remember, easily the best on show in his side's 32-21 victory over the Highlanders in Dunedin.

Having spent part of the season either on the sidelines or on the blindside flank due to the outstanding form of Hoskins Sotutu, Ioane took advantage of a rare start at No.8, opening the scoring after just six minutes.

Ioane peeled off the back of a Blues scrum, before going right over the top of Highlanders winger Scott Gregory.

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Blues defeat Highlanders to keep Super Rugby Aotearoa title hopes alive

Ioane's afternoon certainly didn't end there either. In an almost identical play at the end of the first half, Ioane went over the top of halfback Aaron Smith, leading to an eventual try for Ofa Tu'ungafasi.

The bonus point victory could be decisive for the Blues' Super Rugby Aotearoa title hopes, moving to within two points of the Crusaders, albeit having played a game more.