The Blues savoured a return to transtasman relations by running riot in Melbourne on Saturday night.
After winning two of the last six games in their disappointing Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign, the Blues reduced the Rebels to a bumbling mess to highlight the disparity in opposition and maintain New Zealand's four-from-four record to start the transtasman competition.
The Blues scrum, led by powerful All Blacks prop Karl Tu'inukuafe's best performance of the season, destroyed the Rebels to set the tone for the statement performance. There was no respite when Ofa Tuungafasi and Nepo Laulala came off the bench, either.
On the back of that supremely dominant platform, the Blues regained their dented confidence to score six tries - five in the second spell - in a superb attacking display.
With dominant carries and direct intent the Blues were consistently on the front foot which allowed Finlay Christie's crisp delivery to regularly set their backline alight. Once they got on top, the Blues ambition and breadth of skill came to the fore in a way we have not seen this year.
The Rebels, after pushing their head coach Dave Wessels out the door, will now be contemplating a nightmare month with four more Kiwi matches to come. In this match, they would have welcomed a mercy rule.
The Blues led 17-3 at halftime but they stepped several gears in the second half with Hoskins Sotutu and Akira Ioane claiming doubles to notch a half century and secure a bonus-point win to get the second stage of their season off to the perfect start.
Holding the Rebels scoreless in the second spell is sure to please Blues coach Leon MacDonald just as much as watching his men regain their attacking mojo.
With the winless Waratahs due at Eden Park next week, the Blues have the chance to further press their claims.
The Blues arrived with tactics to put the ball in behind the Rebels by harnessing their multiple kicking options. Rookie wing AJ Lam, fullback Zarn Sullivan and first-five Otere Black all contributed to pinning the Rebels inside their 22 to build pressure which led to points.
It wasn't a flawless start from the Blues, though, with execution lacking. Rieko Ioane dropped the ball three times while Sullivan was guilty on another occasion to squander chances to convert. The Blues also botched one lineout five metres out from the Rebels line.
With their attitude to defensive line speed the Blues put the Rebels under consistent pressure which should have created the opening try for Bryce Heem, only for the TMO to rule a knock-on from Ioane's spot tackle. This was a dubious decision as a knock on cannot be ruled from the ball glancing the shoulder.
Through Black's boot and an impressive 48-metre strike from Sullivan, the Blues steadily built their lead.
The Blues were only under the pump once when openside Adrian Choat was sent to the bin for coming in from the side to collapse a Rebels maul metres from the line. In this instance, the Blues were very fortunate not to concede a penalty try and they escaped from the next play with Josh Goodhue pinching a crucial lineout.
Just before the break, while one man short, the Blues struck a telling blow with Tom Robinson claiming the opening try following a scrum switch move that started on halfway and featured several offloads and interchanges between backs and forwards.
In a win achieved without captain Patrick Tuipulotu and All Blacks flanker Dalton Papalii, the Blues never allowed the Rebels back in the match to display a ruthless edge they will now hope to maintain.
Blues 50 (Hoskins Sotutu 2, Akira Ioane 2, Tom Robinson, AJ Lam tries; Otere Black 2 cons, 3 pens, Zarn Sullivan pen, Harry Plummer 2 cons)
Rebels 3 (Matt To'omua pen)