All Black prospect Rieko Ioane scored a double as the Auckland Blues left the Cheetahs in their dust at Eden Park on Friday.
The Blues notched eight tries to four in the 50-32 win, earning themselves a vital bonus point as they attempt to stay alive in the ultra-competitive New Zealand conference.
The Cheetahs were competitive early on and an effective driving maul earned them three tries, two of them to hooker Elandre Huggett, giving some respectability to the scoreboard.
But poor defence let the Bloemfontein-based team down as they slumped to their eighth straight loss.
Captain Francois Venter said the Cheetahs' Kiwi road trip would not get any easier when they face the in-form Wellington Hurricanes next week.
"We'll keep fighting and hopefully we can make a shock," he said.
It was the third win in a row for the Blues, who remain on the bottom of their conference one point behind the Highlanders, who have a game in hand on them.
With star centre Sonny Bill Williams out injured, Rieko Ioane stepped into the limelight, enhancing his chances of a call-up for the British and Irish Lions Test series.
Established All Blacks Steven Luatua and Patrick Tuipulotu, returning from a back injury, also scored tries and performed well to boost their case for an international recall.
The lead changed three times in the early stages as the sides traded blows in a free-flowing game, with Venter opening the scoring when he forced his way over the line. Rieko Ioane hit back immediately, bursting down the wing and finding himself with clear run after picking up Melani Nanai's pass.
Torsten van Jaarsveld regained the lead for the Cheetahs from a driving maul but lock Scott Scrafton snatched it back when he barged past a flailing Raymond Rhule.
After a close 20 minutes, the Blues dominated the next 40, scoring six unanswered tries before Huggett clawed one back for the Cheetahs through another driving maul. The Blues punished the South African as they pushed on attack, stealing the ball near their own line and running it the length of the field for Nanai to score.
Huggett's second try in the last few minutes was testament to the Cheetah's never-say-die attitude but the result was already beyond doubt.