Even with the Super Rugby Pacific finish line in sight, the Blues head to Canberra to play the Brumbies on Saturday, still facing challenges.

Knowing they could finish top of the table heading into the playoffs was one thing, but improving their act in away games was another. 

That will be their test against the second-placed side on Saturday and the improving Waratahs in Sydney next week.

Captain Dalton Papalii said there were reasons why the Brumbies had beaten three New Zealand teams this year.

"They don't go away, so you have to keep defending. They can build phases and hold onto the ball. That's a key part of their game. We've got to keep backing our defence.

"We've built a culture around here that the boys want to work for each other off the ball and get set early around the paddock. We have to keep doing that, and keep backing each other," he said.

"They're a bloody good team, and it's going to be an arm wrestle.

"I don't like teams like that but we look forward to games like that. You don't want to play easy games. The hard games are the ones you remember," he said.

Being in a position to break the Blues' winning streak record of 12 games was down to the culture the side had built, Papalii said.

"When I first came in, it was a bit different to what it is now. Coming in every day, looking forward to it; you want to work for the boys around you, and it's a good thing that the boys have a lot of humour as well.

"We look forward to coming to work, that's the main thing. We're not dreading it, and winning is contagious. When we get the streak of four or five games on the road, I think it gave a lot of belief to the boys, and that's contagious," he said.

Management was conservative in not selecting Rieko Ioane, flanker Akira Ioane, and flanker Tom Robinson for the game, assistant coach Tom Coventry said.

"If we were playing a semifinal or final, they would be on the field, but we don't want to take any risks. Tom got a head knock at training so it's precautionary, Rieko hurt himself last week with a hamstring, and Aki's foot has started to flare up a bit with his workload, so we've taken a bit of a load off for this weekend."

They were pleased with what Bryce Heem offered as cover for Rieko Ioane.

"Bryce has been really good. He's been a jack of all trades for us. As an impact player, he's been marvellous. With Rieko's injury, I think he went off after four or five minutes. Bryce came on and we didn't miss a trick there," Coventry said.

But he wasn't discounting the job ahead of the side.

"The idea is to go over there, perform well, and pick up more points. We understand how good the Brumbies are and highly respect their efforts.

"They're bloody hard to beat at home, as winter comes and the elements change conditions are going to have a big part to play, and a real arm-wrestle is coming this weekend."