Last-gasp losers a week ago, the Blues are determined to continue to develop their game plan when meeting the Chiefs at Eden Park in their Super Rugby Pacific game on Saturday afternoon.
Assistant coach Dan Halangahu said the selection for the game reflected the coaches' belief that the Blues achieved much of what they wanted to do against the Hurricanes. But their concentration this week was about winning more moments.
They wanted more cohesion while building on what they did in their first game. At the same time, they wanted to continue to build their combinations.
Halangahu said there were three occasions in the first half they could have scored and put the game beyond the Hurricanes, but it reinforced the need to win the 'moments' in games.
They lacked senior leaders on the field in the last 10 minutes, so having skipper Dalton Papalii back was helpful, as was the return of first five-eighths Beauden Barrett, who is on the bench, he said.
"We don't take chances with anyone's career, so Beauden's taken his time coming back. What he has done is a huge amount off-field.
"Beauden is extremely professional and drives our backline but also the whole team," he said.
The Chiefs' decision to play Tupou Vaa'i on the blindside suggested the Blues would face a challenge in the lineouts where they performed well against the Hurricanes.
Round 3 is set to be a thriller! Catch all the team lists, players to watch and key info in our official weekly programme.— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) March 2, 2022
SUBSCRIBE https://t.co/BbLX2zsAYC#SuperRugbyPacific pic.twitter.com/cpHURw9X9V
"It's going to be an important part of the battle and a different challenge for us," he said.
The Blues' change to Stephen Perofeta at fullback was down to his form. He was unlucky not to start against the Hurricanes, Halangahu said.
Centre Rieko Ioane said their start against the Hurricanes was among their best in recent times. But games were not won in 70 minutes, he said.
He wondered if they paid the price for starting a week later than others.
"It was awesome to have that sort of start, but we have to have that for 80 [minutes] so that will be the big goal this week," he said.
"Within that 70 minutes there were moments we could have capitalised on opportunities so it's exciting to look back on. Apart from that last 10 minutes there was a lot in the first 70 we can still build on," he said.
Ioane felt comfortable in his first outing with midfield partner Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. He was a good athlete, and they were looking forward to playing together again.