Barrett limps off but Reds cop dose of Blues
Beauden Barrett spun a web around the Queensland Reds before limping off as the Blues inflicted a 45-26 win in Brad Thorn's last game as coach at Suncorp Stadium.
The Reds were the first team to beat the Chiefs all season last week, ending a 10-year losing streak in New Zealand behind dogged defence and disciplined attack.
But that disappeared in Brisbane on Friday, the Reds missing 31 tackles as the Blues ran in six tries to four and moved into fourth on the Super Rugby Pacific ladder.
It left the Reds in seventh and in danger of missing finals in Thorn's last season in charge, games away to the Highlanders and Fijian Drua to finish the regular season potentially both must-wins for them to remain in the frame.
"We're crashing back down to earth after last week in a way, and we probably needed that," co-captain and halfback Tate McDermott said.
"We still had the same amount of opportunities we had last week, just didn't take them."
Barrett's terrific short ball to Cameron Suafoa led to fullback Zarn Sullivan's first try and the No.10 scored the second himself.
The hosts couldn't bend the Blues' defensive line in the first half but were still right in it when Sef Fa'agase scored to make it a three-point game at the break.
Fraser McReight was then metres from the line when he knocked on looking to dive over, flying winger Mark Telea running 60m and grubbering for Barrett.
Barrett couldn't ground it and then limped off with a sore foot, the All Blacks talent joining five other Blues Test stars already on the sidelines as part of designated World Cup rest.
It didn't disrupt the Blues, Patrick Tuipulotu barging over from the next play to create the crucial buffer.
Fullback Sullivan took over the playmaking duties with aplomb to set up Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens.
Harry Wilson stretched out to score and make it 31-19 with 11 minutes to play but Telea had the reply from the restart to snuff out any hopes of a comeback.
"We were always wary of them," Blues captain Tuipulotu said.
"We saw how physical they were against the Chiefs.
"So I'm very happy with how we performed and mended our set piece (after a loss to the Crusaders last week)."
The wheels fell off in the final stages, Jock Campbell dropping a ball cold when attempting to pass and Taufa Funaki obliging with a 79th-minute try.
Liam Wilson continued his good form with regular pilfers and a sharp pass to set up Josh Flook's first try.
But the Reds' set piece lacked punch and halfback McDermott and fullback Campbell were without the sparkle they showed in New Plymouth a week earlier.