Being kingmakers in the Australian Super Rugby conference isn’t doing much to fire up the Blues this week.
Seeking an elusive 80-minute performance is.
Guaranteed to finish last in the New Zealand conference for the third-straight season, most interest in the Blues over the two remaining rounds is their influence on the Australian conference.
The Brumbies and Waratahs share the lead on 39 points, with a good chance only one will qualify for the post-season.
Vital to both teams’ chances will be beating the Blues at Eden Park, where the hosts have won 12 of their past 14 games against Australian visitors.
The Brumbies are first on Friday, coming off a four-game winning streak, while a Waratahs side who have won six of their last seven arrive a week later.
Assistant coach Glenn Moore dismisses suggestions the Blues are motivated to improve the prospect of having all four other New Zealand teams in the play-offs by winning the trans-Tasman fixtures.
“Our focus all year has been making sure we perform and we still have the chance to play really well,” he said.
Last week’s 37-27 loss to the Hurricanes was among the Blues’ best displays of the year.
It typified a season in which they have played some compelling attacking rugby but lacked the ability to close out results, particularly away from home.
“We feel we’ve made good progress, we think we’ve played particularly well through big periods of that game,” Moore said.
“Ultimately we’re looking for that real performance.”
The Blues starting XV will be unchanged if centre Male Sa’u and lock Josh Bekhuis pass late fitness tests.
Moore says the his team will probably be able to call on injured All Blacks pair George Moala (elbow) and Charlie Faumuina (knee) for the Waratahs game.