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Blues brace for unpredictable Fijian Drua in quarterfinal

Blues brace for unpredictable Fijian Drua in quarterfinal

All BlacksJune 4, 2024

Knowing the Drua have the capacity for unpredictability, even if not achieving on the road this year, the Blues would be taking no chances in their preparation for Saturday's DHL Super Rugby Pacific quarterfinal at Eden Park.

Coach Vern Cotter said the Drua were excited about making the quarterfinals and having them at home avoided having to get on a bus or play to them, and they would concentrate on how they can become better against them.

Having dealt with some of the issues that cost them against the Crusaders, Cotter was pleased with the improvement the side showed against the Chiefs.

"If you had given me that score at the start of the season, I would have taken it over the Chiefs.

"If you want to win the title, you have to beat everybody, so it [finishing second] doesn't matter.

"There'll be parts of that game we'll review, and we'll try and become better at it."

That would include how they ceded control in the last 10 minutes when the Chiefs denied them a bonus point and their lack of edge in the last part of the first half.

"We let them back in because we weren't quite as effective or efficient in what we were doing.

"The danger of finishing first is that suddenly your feet lift off the ground. We know that we've got a lot of work to do.

"It wasn't a total performance, but it was a good one."

Captain Patrick Tuipolotu said they were aware that the bonus point was under pressure in the final stages.

The 2024 #SuperRugbyPacific Finals series kicks off this Friday 🏆

Who have you got winning this week? pic.twitter.com/Aijqlqcnjd

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) June 1, 2024

It was a little frustrating, but they were happy they dominated large parts of the game, which they set out to do.

"We'll make sure we put some good things in on Monday and build the week. We go into a knockout situation and we want another Monday to keep moving forward."

Cotter said the ambition was within the team, and there was disappointment at not finishing first because of the high standards they set.

"We will enjoy the fact that we qualified, enjoy the fact that we won the game at home in front of our crowd and then we shift into knockout rugby."

The team has improved throughout the season, and that was important in reaching the final stages when they were under pressure. It was down to how they reacted under pressure.

"Paddy and the boys are stepping up and taking everything on board.

"They're ambitious, want to do well, and want to go as far as we can in the competition.

"We've had a good qualifying phase and now we need to do what we can do, learn from today and other games and become better when it matters."

Cotter said the late changes to the backline had shown how selfless the players are.

"They're about what's best for the Blues, not what's best for them, and that's one of our strengths."

For the first time since 2016, we'll have a new champion 🏆

Who will take the 2024 #SuperRugbyPacific title? pic.twitter.com/vPdFXzuCYq

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) June 3, 2024

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