Banking a 30–17 win over the Force, the Blues immediately turned their thoughts to their round six DHL Super Rugby Pacific game against the competition-leading Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday.
Coach Leon MacDonald said it was an exciting challenge against not only their traditional neighbourly rivals but also the only unbeaten side this year.
"It is one of the games the guys get up for. Hamilton is a place we like to go and win at – it's one of the better feelings in rugby. We'll turn this around pretty quickly. There's about 13 players turning up on Monday after a break and pretty excited about the week ahead."
MacDonald described Sunday's effort against the Force as like liquorice all-sorts.
"We had patches where we started to get a bit of momentum and continuity, and we looked pretty good, and then we missed a breakdown, or let them on the ball, or lost the ball in contact, and took the pressure valve off.
"We were a little mixed around the core stuff you have to get right around the scrum and lineout. So [there is] plenty to work on."
It gave players who hadn't enjoyed a lot of game time some minutes on the field, including lock Sam Darry returning from a long injury.
"The performance reflected the week. It was muddled. We weren't able to get a good training week in, and it probably showed in the way we played.
MacDonald said a gastro bug had gone through the side and felt that was reflected in how their stamina wore out towards the end of the game.
"Some guys were looking pretty pale and fatigued. We didn't have a lot of energy in the tank and stumbled over the finish line.
It was also frustrating not to secure a bonus point, especially after the number of opportunities they had to score more points.
However, the chance to give Stephen Perofeta more time at first five-eighths had been invaluable. Running onto the ball, he looked dangerous, MacDonald said.
"He showed he is a fantastic attacking option for us at 10. He does like to take the line on which is great."
Captain and second five-eighths Harry Plummer said the players realized parts of the game were not up to scratch. There were some good passages of play, but breakdowns occasionally let down the overall performance.
"It was probably lack of skill rather than lack of effort. That's how it felt out there."
The Blues take on the Chiefs at 7.05pm NZT, Saturday 1 April, at FMG Stadium Waikato.
Five rounds down and @ChiefsRugby are the only unbeaten team left standing. Who can knock them off?#SuperRugbyPacific pic.twitter.com/lEK8TjQ1Yq— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) March 26, 2023