Blues wary of plucky Force

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They know the Force are winless, but they also acknowledge the pluck the Perth-based side have shown not only in this competition but in Super Rugby Australia earlier in the season.


They have been a spoiler for New Zealand sides, most notably the Crusaders last week and the Chiefs in the first round.


As a result, the Blues are refusing to start thinking about a final at Eden Park next week.


Assistant coach Tom Coventry said: "I know people have been talking about that. But we've been focusing on one game at a time. It seems to be working for us. We have to roll our sleeves up and earn the right at home for whatever comes after that.


"We haven't spoken too much about what comes next," he said.


They are authors of their destiny. Winning would ensure the finals berth, a bonus point would make it a home final.


But Coventry said they would not be going into the contest with pre-conceived ideas of what was wanted.


"It's just a hurdle you don't want to cross.

"We're just going to focus on us. All we can do is put a performance on the field, and hopefully, the results come on the back of playing well," he said.


Hoskins Sotutu returns to the side after a break with Akira Ioane stepping back to the bench covering all three loose forward positions.


The decision was down to how the Blues want to finish the game.


"Aki was really good last week, and that's not a reflection of his form. It's to do with how we are going to finish the game, and what Aki brings off the bench.


"He covers three positions, has done a really good job, and is a real team bloke, and gets on and does whatever he's asked. Last week he got the start, this week he'll do it off the bench," he said.


Coventry is hopeful the side's improved discipline at the breakdown in the second phase of the season can be maintained.


"I don't think we got that right so well in the first competition. We got penalised for not rolling away, and our work at the breakdown was a bit sloppy, and we incurred the wrath of the referee a bit, so we've been better there, and our penalty count shows we've got some improvement in that area," he said.


They would also look to maintain the improved field position they have utilised in the latter stages of the season, a factor in making life a little easier for their big pack.


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