The Blues have booked their place into next week's Super Rugby semifinal with a 26-13 over the Waratahs at Eden Park.
After a scratchy opening quarter the Blues settled into their sharp running game and tightened their defence to gradually dominate their Australian opponents for a comfortable victory.
The Blues will know after Crusders and Sharks match to find out next week's opponents. They will meet the top of the table Reds in Brisbane, unless the Sharks can manage an unlikely victory over the much-fancied Crusaders.
Prop John Afoa and second-five Luke McAlister celebrated their 100th and 50th match in Blues colours as they led out their side before kickoff.
It was a weakened Waratahs outfit who had a number of injuries in their ranks and replacement hooker John Ulugia, in for Tatafu Polota Nau, missed his target on a number of occasions throughout the night.
Regular fullback Kurtley Beale shifted to first-five, with winger Lachie Turner heading to fullback and Afa Pakalani moving off the bench into the eleven jumper.
Despite making a raft of changes to their lineup the visitors looked the more cohesive outfit in the opening fifteen minutes with their forwards making plenty of ground with their pick-and-go and their backline having plenty of front-foot ball which ultimately lead to centre Tom Carter scoring a try in the 19th minute.
Strong running and woeful tackling from the homeside assisted Carter who was on the end of sweeping movement as huge lock Sitaleki Timani made a surging run and offload before shifting left to Carter who held off McAlister's tackle before going over in the corner.
The Blues responded almost immediately as they took a lineout in the Waratahs 22 and first-five Stephen Brett fed the ball wide to McAlister who stuck his nose through the line and dished an offload to winger Lachie Munro to score.
McAlister stepped up to convert the extras for a 7-5 lead, as Munro received medical attention behind the dead-ball line after being crunched by captain Phil Waugh after forcing the ball.
The Waratahs went in-front 8-7 with a penalty in the 30th minute but the lead was short-lived as Munro recovered to kick two penalties to give his side a 13-8 lead at the interval.
The secondhalf began with the Blues grafting out greater possession and better field position as the Waratahs missed-tackle count quickly climbed to 13 after finishing the opening stanza with just 3 compared to the Blues 16.
With the Blues making plenty of running metres into opposition terriotry and the visitors adding lock Kane Douglas to the already congested casualty list, their only reward was a penalty to Munro who slotted a kick from a tricky angle for a 16-8 lead.
The Blues eventually broke down their stubborn defence with a try in the 63rd minute to lock Ali Williams.
Benson Stanley's cut-out pass found Mealamu who fed Munro before Jarrod Payne drew in two defenders to pop back inside to the the big rangy lock for a popular try in front of the Blues faithful.
Munro converted to post 16 points for his night's work and stretched the lead to 23-8.
Fullback Lachie Tuner scored a consolation try for the Waratahs in the 72nd minute, but McAlister's 78th minute penalty put the game beyond doubt.
BLUES 26 (Lachie Munro, Ali Williams tries Luke McAlister, Munro cons Munro 3, McAlister pens) bt NSW WARATAHS 13 (Tom Carter, Lachlan Turner tries Kurtley Beale pen) at Eden Park. Referee: Chris Pollock.
- Herald online