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"There are no easy games from now on" - Cotter

"There are no easy games from now on" - Cotter

All BlacksMay 14, 2024

Sitting on top of the DHL Super Rugby Pacific competition, the Blues are aware that after beating the Hurricanes 31-27 at Eden Park, they still have challenges in their remaining regular-season games against the Highlanders, Crusaders, and Chiefs.

Coach Vern Cotter said, "There are no easy games from now on. It's going to take its toll and we'll have to look after ourselves."

Cotter said apart from a couple of occasions, the Blues managed the win because they stuck to what they knew they could do.

He enjoyed the game most because it clearly showed the Blues what they needed to do to execute their game plan correctly.

"It was evident we let them into the game. Every time we scored, we couldn't exit, and we gave away a penalty."

The Hurricanes were a team capable of exploiting their entries into the opposition's 22m area.

But in the last moments, the defence allowed them to secure the win, which was important reinforcement for the side.

"The analysis and feedback on Monday morning is going to be pretty simple. And the good thing is that everybody's [already] saying the same thing. No player is saying something different. They're all aligned."

He said it was essential to have something to work on, even while heading the table.

That was SOME weekend of footy 😳

Which game was your favourite?#SuperRugbyPacific pic.twitter.com/3B0QG2fXBo

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) May 12, 2024

"That's the key to starting your week and challenging yourself to improve.

"The Hurricanes have shown us where we need to become better."

Captain Patrick Tuipulotu said the game was physically their most challenging contest of the season.

The physicality of the contest made the mental battle to stay focused another demand on the side.

Under the late Hurricanes assault on the Blues' line, Tuipulotu said there was little need to remind the players what was required.

"We just had to get in there and get the job done. The players were all conscious of it.

"There's a lot of leadership out there in terms of our attack and then mainly our defence, where Dalton [Papali'i] and Mark [Tele'a] were pretty vocal and you feel the want to stamp them out in the end was there as well."

Cotter said first five-eighths Harry Plummer's role in decision-making and kicking goals had been vital.

"He didn't miss a kick so having an eight-point buffer going into the last 10 minutes was very important and that comes through his efficiency with the ball on his foot."

In the set pieces, the Blues got everything they wanted, which would be an area for improvement, especially concerning the discipline needed.

"There were a couple of times we got caught in two minds, which is something we're trying to drive out of our game, so we are clear about what we want to achieve and how we go about it.

"Some of the unstructured stuff was good as well and we can keep growing that."

But he said the game came down to fine margins and could have bounced either way. 

"If you look at that last two minutes on our line, that's where you get real satisfaction."

An epic Culture Round comes to a close!

Where does your team sit after the weekend?#SuperRugbyPacific pic.twitter.com/hg9UnKwaoY

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) May 12, 2024

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