Mike Delany made a triumphant return to New Zealand rugby with 20 points as the Highlanders beat the Blues 30-27 in a cliff-hanger in Dunedin.
They held off a desperate wave of last-gasp Blues attacks to gain their sixth win in eight games before an ecstatic crowd of 18,000.
Each side scored two tries and the game could have gone either way but Delany's kicking, seven from nine, gave the Highlanders the final say on his first appearance back after a stint in Japan.
Meanwhile, Queensland Reds' title defence suffered another blow, with the Stormers running rampant in the first half to set up a 23-13 victory at Suncorp Stadium.
The Reds were brave to the end after losing fly-half Sam Lane (knee) and outside centre Ben Tapuai (broken clavicle) inside the first 10 minutes, but were never able to reel in the high-flying South African Conference leaders.
Gio Aplon touched down for the Stormers, with Peter Grant contributing the rest of their points - including a first-half try.