Gutsy Lions claim famous win
Auckland - Keven Mealamu was unable to celebrate becoming the most capped player in Super Rugby as his Blues side suffered a morale-sapping 13-10 loss to the Lions at North Harbour Stadium in Albany on Sunday.
As it happened: Blues v Lions
It was a fourth successive defeat for the Blues which only increases the pressure on struggling coach John Kirwan.
Local radio reported earlier this week the Blues had sounded out Tasman's provincial coach Kieran Keane to replace Kirwan, something that was vociferously denied by both Keane and the Auckland-based franchise.
The fact the story appeared at all, however, only served to emphasise how much pressure Kirwan is facing after two under-performing seasons and a terrible start to the 2015 competition.
Blues' captain Jerome Kaino scored a first half try, which Ihaia West converted after he had slotted an earlier penalty, but they were guilty of failing to turn a wealth of possession and territory into points.
Elton Jantjies added two penalties and converted Ruan Combrinck's second half try for the visitors, who had also lost their first three games of the season.
The result was a disappointing one for Mealamu, who was making his 163rd appearance to edge one ahead of former Australia lock Nathan Sharpe.
The 35-year-old has also won 123 caps for the All Blacks and surpassed Colin Meads as having played the most first class games in New Zealand rugby.
He received a rousing reception from the Blues fans as he ran onto the field by himself in front of his team mates and again when he was replaced in the 45th minute by James Parsons.
The fans, however, became increasingly silent as the match wore on and began to trickle away before the final whistle with those remaining letting out muted boos at the end.
Tries: Jerome Kaino
Conversion: Ihaia West
Try: Sampie Mastriet
Conversion: Elton Jantjies
Penalties: Jantjies (2)
15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Charles Piutau, 12 Francis Saili, 11 Melani Nanai, Ihaia West, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Jerome Kaino (captain), 7 Luke Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Ofa Tu'ungafasi
Substitutes: 16 James Parsons, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Hayden Triggs, 20 Brendon O'Connor, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 Hamish Northcott
15. Andries Coetzee, 14. Ruan Combrinck, 13. Lionel Mapoe, 12. Harold Vorster, 11. Sampie Mastriet, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Ross Cronje, 8. Warren Whiteley (captain), 7. Warwick Tecklenburg, 6. Jaco Kriel, 5. Martin Muller, 4. Franco Mostert, 3. Julian Redelinghuys, 2. Robbie Coetzee, 1. Corne Fourie
Substitutes: 16. Armand van der Merwe, 17. Jacques van Rooyen, 18. Ruan Dreyer, 19. Robert Kruger, 20. Derick Minnie, 21. Faf de Klerk, 22. Jaco van der Walt, 23. Howard Mnisi