Individual brilliance through four tries scored by wing Mark Telea was enough for the Blues to beat the Hurricanes, but it wouldn't be enough to win Super Rugby Pacific playoff games.

That was coach Leon MacDonald's summation of the 36-25 Blues win at a wet Eden Park on Saturday that all but set up a home quarterfinal. 

MacDonald said Telea had been the difference.

"He's on fire. Close to the line, in the middle of the field, or wherever he decides to pop up, that's his point of difference. He's all over the place. You can't get away from him, and he's always looking for opportunities.

"Whether he's off the back of a ruck, or inside, outside 10 [first five-eighths] or on the edge, he's hungry to get his hands on the ball and dangerous. He was fantastic."

While Telea was stealing the glory with his four tries, MacDonald said Caleb Clarke on the opposite wing did his bit when contesting restarts with such effect.

"We were sitting there [in the coach's box] in despair because we'd just let in a try we probably shouldn't have, and all of a sudden, Caleb has caught the kickoff, and we're back on attack creating pressure.

"That was massive. But we want to be a lot tidier than having to rely on those sort of plays," he said.

MacDonald was hopeful first five-eighths Beauden Barrett would be back from the cut heel he suffered against the Reds to play against the Highlanders on Friday. They will, however, be without No8 Hoskins Sotutu, who has All Blacks' rest to complete.

But, despite the win, an inability to put the Hurricanes away was frustrating.

"We got the result we wanted, and elements of our game were good enough to get us home. When we settled in our defence and didn't give away silly penalties in the second half, we looked good and created pressure.

"We did enough to create enough tries, but there were periods of play we won't be that fond of when we look at it. Unforced errors and some of our decision-making need tidying up.

"You can't take away from a good Hurricanes team who have been putting teams to the sword all year and scoring lots of great tries.

"It would be remiss to say they're easy beats. We were challenged – their carries and cleanouts were vicious. They came to play and put us under pressure.

"At times, we resisted that well, and our forwards went to work. We weren't always perfect, but the attitude was there, even if the accuracy wasn't always there.

"That's for us to keep working on as we get into the business end of the season. But there was enough there to give us plenty of confidence."