Hurricanes prop Tyrel Lomax could only watch from the sidelines as his side disintegrated against the Blues.
Lomax was sent from the park in the 47th minute of the 24-15 loss to the Blues in Wellington tonight after flooring Blues centre Rieko Ioane with a shoulder charge that connected with Ioane's head.
Lomax, a new recruit for the Hurricanes this season, was going in to make a supporting hit as Ioane was brought down by fellow prop Xavier Numia. However, the execution was poor as Lomax made no attempt to wrap his right arm around Ioane, and he could have no complaints about the colour of the card shown by referee Mike Fraser.
He wasn't the only Hurricanes player to be sent from the field, with Vaea Fifita and Jordie Barrett both shown yellow cards – leaving the Hurricanes down to 12 men at one point late in the second half.
It made what was already an intriguing match-up more interesting, after the Hurricanes' inability to turn their early dominance into points became a reason for them to sweat down the stretch.
Having won their last nine games against the Blues, it looked like they were well poised to make it 10. Just two minutes into the contest, Ngani Laumape put winger Ben Lam away in the corner with an offload over the top of the defence to give the hosts an early 5-0 lead.
The Hurricanes had almost 90 per cent of the possession in the opening 20 minutes, and despite playing the majority of that time in Blues territory, they couldn't make it count on the scoreboard.
After having to defend for the best part of the opening 35 minutes, the Blues found their way through the Hurricanes line through Ioane, who put winger Mark Telea away into space to get deep inside Hurricanes territory. Akira Ioane crashed over soon after, with Otere Black's conversion giving the Blues a surprising lead.
That lasted just two minutes, as Barrett kicked a penalty goal to give the Hurricanes a one-point lead at the break.
Losing Lomax seven minutes into the half put the Hurricanes under pressure early in the second half, and the Blues took advantage. Telea crossed in the 56th minute and after Black's conversion put them 14-8 up, it seemed like the Blues would kick on with the job.
Instead, it was the Hurricanes who scored next, with Kobus van Wyk scoring out wide after a scrum in which fellow winger Lam packed down at flanker.
From there, it was all downhill for the hosts. Fifita was shown a yellow card for a no-arms tackle with 12 minutes to go, and was followed to the bin by Barrett six minutes later when he was deemed to have deliberately knocked the ball down.
Both bookings resulted in points, with Black kicking a penalty after Fifita's infringement and the referee awarding a penalty try for Barrett's transgression.
The latter was the final scoring play of the match, with the Blues claiming their first away win over another Kiwi team in their last 26 attempts.
Blues 24 (Akira Ioane, Mark Telea, penalty try; Otere Black 2 cons, pen)
Hurricanes 15 (Ben Lam, Kobus van Wyk tries; Jordie Barrett con, pen)