Blues fight off Highlanders in tense Super Rugby Pacific victory
They scored three second-half tries and were pushed into touch in the final minute attempting to cross for a fourth that would have levelled the scores.
The Blues were slick early then held on late, Barrett’s replacement Stephen Perofeta’s counter-attacking try with 14 minutes remaining pushing them ahead 32-18.
The victory moves the Blues (3-1) above the Western Force to sixth ahead of a Tuesday catch-up fixture against Moana Pasifika.
Barrett, 30, had only just returned following a concussion suffered in a Test against Ireland in November.
He was taken from the field in the 41st minute after a high-speed collision with hard-running Highlanders centre Fetuli Paea.
Forsyth Barr Stadium was typically raucous as more than 7500 enjoyed the return of crowds to New Zealand Super clashes.
Fullback Sam Gilbert scored twice for the Highlanders.
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