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“We’re going to cause a lot of teams trouble” - MacDonald

“We’re going to cause a lot of teams trouble” - MacDonald

All BlacksMarch 23, 2023

Down but not out was Blues coach Leon MacDonald's summation after their 28-34 round four loss to the Crusaders at Eden Park.

It was the Blues' first home game of the season and lived up to all the pre-game hype as more than 23,000 turned out to watch a game in which some technical refereeing decisions came into play.

With a 2-2 record for the season, the Blues face the Western Force in a rare afternoon game on Sunday at Eden Park.

Against the Crusaders, the Blues had the winning of the game, but two balls lost over the goal line by lock James Tucker and No8 Hoskins Sotutu, respectively, in the final quarter allowed the Crusaders to hold on.

MacDonald said the Blues didn't need to go back to the drawing board. They are still a point ahead of the Crusaders on the points table, and aspects of their play showed their potential.

"Some of our attacking play, we're shifting to space a lot better than we have done. We found more space with the way we kicked and passed.

"Our breakdown was a lot better too. If we continue to keep growing in these areas, we're going to cause a lot of teams trouble.

Hoskins Sotutu has been a workhorse this season 😤#SuperRugbyPacific pic.twitter.com/ytdpZXjkOE

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) March 22, 2023

"We had our opportunities. We showed a lot with a spirited second half. There was a lot of guts and character to all but take it – losing the ball over the line a couple of times.

"We're bitterly disappointed not to get the win, but we are getting better. I can see it in the way we're training and the way the leaders are stepping up throughout the week. There's still plenty of good stuff we can be proud of there."

In the close-quarter games, especially between the New Zealand sides, there was an element of luck, and MacDonald said during their 15-game winning streak last year, they won games they should have lost and, this time lost a game they could have won.

"We know we didn't get the rub of the green in certain areas, and we don't make excuses about that because we create our own luck, and if we were a bit better we could've won that game."

Captain and flanker Dalton Papali'i acknowledged that because of the rivalry the sides had created, it was always tough to lose to the Crusaders.

"Losing is never easy. I can't fault our effort. We got over twice and dropped the ball. It's little moments like that we need to execute; they can change the game.

"We're there, but we just need to tweak a few things. We're pretty happy with the way we're playing, it's just those little moments."

The Blues host the Western Force at 3.35pm on Sunday at Eden Park. Get your TICKETS HERE.

Blues vs Force is kids day out! 🤠

Bring the fam down this Sunday arvo and enjoy some carnival rides, skills and drills, and entertainment for everyone 💙

Then crack on to some good footy! Kickoff at 3:35pm 🔥https://t.co/oKy93sz6CL pic.twitter.com/zSu38ez2Hf

— The Blues (@BluesRugbyTeam) March 20, 2023

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