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Blues continue their quest for improvement

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Lynn McConnell     29 Apr 2017     Getty Images

Several close calls with the Blues on the losing side have seen them slip off the play-offs place but Parsons is looking for a strong second half to the season to lift the side up the table.

However, for a month at least they will have to do without the experience of All Black Jerome Kaino.

Kaino was a loss, Parsons said. He was one of the key players in the side and led the way with his actions.

"It will leave a hole but we all know Akira is obviously on the All Blacks' radar and it is a big opportunity for him to go up against Scott Fardy who's a pretty formidable international loose forward and I think it will be an exciting time for him.

"I'm sure he's very excited by the opportunity to get some good minutes on the park and step into some pretty big shoes," he said.

The bye week had allowed some time away but it had been back into action this week and it still was no different for the side, they had to concentrate a week at a time.

"We know what position we're in, we're not going to hide from that but if we look too far ahead we're not going to do the job against the Brumbies. We understand we've got to finish and close games out, we know that's a weakness.

"I thought we timed it a lot better against the Hurricanes, other than bit of brilliance from Beaudy [Beauden Barrett] I thought we were in a good position towards the end and we just need to carry on with that, trust our systems and back ourselves for the full 80 [minutes]," he said.

Having been in a similar position in recent seasons, Parsons said he felt the side was making improvements and he felt the differences between the Highlanders game and the Hurricanes game bore that out.

"I know they [the Hurricanes] still won but I felt like we made good shifts in that last 20."

The side was not hiding from the fact they had been losing. The business they were in was about winning but they retained their belief and would stick to their structures and trust in them, he said.

"We understand the Brumbies at home are a tough challenge, we saw the Highlanders only sneak over the line there and the Highlanders are a good side. The Hurricanes got a little bit of a fright in that first half as well so we have to be on our game and that's a challenge we're excited by and we've just got to step up to it," he said.

Wing Matt Duffie said the strength of the Brumbies forward pack would be a challenge for the side.

"They like to lineout drive, they're good over the ball when they're defending so I think we're going to have to be on our game, get to our rucks quickly and if they get their game going they've got backs like Henry Speight and [Tevita] Kuridrani, they're great players," he said.

The situation for the side was no different from at the start of the season, they had to win.

They had shown glimpses of what they were capable of but they needed to put an 80-minute performance together.

"If we can get that going I've got a lot of faith that we will be sweet so it's just up to every individual to do that," he said.