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Blues Aim for Precision Against Waratahs to Bounce Back in Super Rugby Clash

Blues Aim for Precision Against Waratahs to Bounce Back in Super Rugby Clash

All BlacksMarch 15, 2024

Flying to Sydney on Thursday to prepare for Saturday's DHL Super Rugby Pacific game with the Waratahs, the Blues were aware reducing faults and errors would be crucial to their hopes of success.

In their first loss to the Hurricanes last weekend, the Blues committed 18 turnovers, and coach Vern Cotter said the Waratahs were well-equipped to take advantage of that.

"It will be a challenge. You can see that in their energy and the way they're playing. They are hard to play against because they apply a lot of pressure and play off your faults and errors.

"That's been a big focus for us, this week as we try to be as accurate as we can. We want to tidy our game up because we created opportunities but didn't get over the line."

The formula for improving accuracy within a week was an individual thing where players had to be tougher on themselves.

"It's about how we go about our business. You can't knock off too early, and you've got to go right to the end. The Hurricanes played well and defended well.

"We've spoken about a few things that need to be sorted around what we are doing, and we've been working towards that all week. So, when we get those opportunities, we'll be able to get over the line, walk back, and wait for the kickoff.

The early-season setback taught them some lessons. They learned something about themselves, their preparation and execution, and the need to adapt on the day.

The choice to have only two back substitutes, who were both needed in the first quarter, meant adaption was necessary. Added to that was the loss of prop Jordan Lay, who broke his leg in the second half.

"I take my hat off to the boys. There were a few disruptions, but the positive thing was we finished on their line, they didn't finish on ours, and we were only a couple of centimetres away from scoring a try that would have given us a bonus point.

"The boys adapted well and this week they will be better."

Having All Blacks Ofa Tu'ungafasi back in the front row and Caleb Clarke on the wing will see the team close to its most experienced. But it was a case of working through the All Blacks rest requirements and team rotations.

"We need to kick on and from there we'll go from game to game. It's trying to manage your way through the season and get to the business end as best you can."

The first three rounds were competitive, and Cotter said it was clear the competition would be close.

"This year, qualifying will be the first objective. It's going to be tougher, and then you work from there.

"It's exciting. It's a good thing. It keeps everyone on their toes.

"The competition is going to get better and as points become more important it's going to become tense and there will be some do-or-die games coming up reasonably soon."

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