The Blues' horror Super Rugby season rolled on unabated at Eden Park in Auckland as they stumbled to their eighth loss of the season, falling 23-11 to the Queensland Reds.

The Blues were hard hit by Reds' tries early in each half, their disorganisation on defence out wide punished as the defending champions ran in three tries for their fifth win of the season.

The home team never really recovered from a horror start, conceding two tries inside the first seven minutes.

Centre Digby Ioane crossed barely a minute after Friday night's kickoff, the Blues scrambling defence found wanting after Reds first five-eighth Ben Lucas kicked wide.

The Blues' defensive shortcomings were underlined soon after, as quick ball from Wallabies halfback Will Genia again left them at sixes and sevens, and fullback Luke Morahan scythed through some weak tackling to dot down.

Former North Harbour first five-eighths Mike Harris added the extras, and the visitors led 12-0.

With their set piece working efficiently, and the Blues lineout under pressure, the Reds continued to dominate.

But the Blues battled back, punching through in the midfield with powerful running from second five-eighth Ma'a Nonu and stretching the Reds out wide as winger Rudi Wulf attacked the line.

They were rewarded in the 25th minute when their lineout finally functioned smoothly, with captain Luke Braid powering over to haul one back for the home team.

Harris and Blues first five-eighth Gareth Anscombe swapped penalties, but with the Blues continuing to concede turnovers at crucial times, the Reds went into halftime with a 15-8 lead.

Genia's sharp eye and a cut-out pass to winger Dom Shipperley put the Reds ahead 20-8 just four minutes after the restart.

The Blues narrowed the gap through Anscombe's boot 10 minutes later, but another Harris penalty and some solid, no-frills rugby in the closing stages saw the Reds home.

NZ Newswire

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