Blues expecting different kettle of fish against Brumbies

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Coach Leon MacDonald said the Blues now faced the best three teams in the competition in the Brumbies, Reds (away) and the Force.


"We've got to keep improving, and we have to be better.


"I can guarantee you some New Zealand teams are going to lose some games, and we just have to make sure it's not us," he said.


"I've been impressed with the Brumbies, they're a really strong team and we're going to have to be better than what we were tonight."


Being expected to win brought pressure, and the challenge was how to find the edge that ensured the win. They sought that from Saturday's game but hadn't achieved as much as was wanted, and that was disappointing, MacDonald said.


"The Brumbies are going to be a different kettle of fish. We know we're going to have to be right on top of our game," he said.


They wouldn't be able to afford the small errors, like offloads or failure to dominate the collisions, that had crept back into their game.


"We just can't go there next week at all," he said.



They were scoring at a C+ level, and while that was a pass, there was room for improvement. And that had to be the mindset.


"We're going to have to be a lot better, a lot more accurate. Our lineout function well last week but it wasn't as sharp tonight. They'll be a little disappointed with the accuracy of that. I don't think we had a bad scrum, we probably didn't get the dominance we had last week," he said.


MacDonald said while the Australians hadn't experienced the level of rugby the New Zealand teams enjoyed in Super Rugby Aotearoa, there was still a physicality about them.


"They're willing. I think some errors creep in that you wouldn't get against New Zealand teams at critical times. They let you off the hook sometimes when they have you under pressure, but they're tenacious. I thought the Waratahs were tenacious. They hung in hard right until the end.


"If you looked across the teams, I think an asset we have got at the moment is depth in our squads.


“We're rolling some good players off benches, trying to accelerate that go-forward. I think that happened in our game. Our bench added some good punch and impact. I think that's where we probably we got a bit of an advantage.”

Leon MacDonald


Despite the final margin, MacDonald was concerned with their early defence.


"We didn't apply a lot of pressure off the ball which we wanted to do, and put their skill under some pressure. We were able to make some good line breaks and create plenty, but then we'd miss a clean-out.


"The second half looked better. Straight out of the blocks we looked better on defence, we were getting off the line, we were hitting harder, we were attacking the break down better and when we do that we look solid. [It was] a little bit frustrating that we took a little bit of time to get there, but we did get there in the end," he said.



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