The Blues overcame a halftime deficit in often heavy rain to beat Reds 27-18 and spoil the Reds’ return to their traditional Ballymore home in Super 14 rugby on Saturday.
Wallabies halfback Will Genia scored a try in the first two minutes of his inaugural match as captain to help the Reds to a 13-8 halftime lead, but the Blues scored three second-half tries and played strong defense.
All Blacks lock Anthony Boric and halfback Albie Mathewson dotted down and Rudi Wolf added the clinching third with one minute left.
Genia, announced as the replacement skipper for the knee-injured James Horwill last week, picked off an attempted chip kick in the opening minutes and ran for a try in the Reds’ first match at Ballymore in five years.
Quade Cooper, who converted, and Auckland’s Stephen Brett kicked penalties to make the score 10-3. Blues winger Rene Ranger scored a try in the 32nd minute and, after another Cooper penalty, the half ended with the Reds leading by five points.
Boric scored for Auckland in the 43rd, pushing over from the back of a ruck, and Brett’s conversion gave Auckland the lead for the first time in the match at 15-13. Another try by Mathewson, this time unconverted, put the Blues up 20-13 before a late try from Laurie Weeks pulled the Reds to within two points.
Cooper missed the conversion of Weeks’ try and a late penalty before Wulf’s last-minute try.