Looking to their quarterfinal, coach Leon MacDonald said the game reminded the Blues about their need to maintain discipline.
The consequences of failing on that count were demonstrated when the Highlanders remained in the game when they lacked the possession to trouble the Blues, yet the Blues' mistakes and infringements made it easier for them.
And when the Highlanders' determination to play ugly and avoid the 60-point hammering they took in the first-round game, the Blues became frustrated with the third-quarter scrum fest that took the sting and shape from their game.
"Our guys looked frustrated and probably started to lose patience on attack, and we ended up stumbling home."
He said a win was a win, and the most important thing was they succeeded at a time of the year when it was all about winning.
The first half showed what the Blues were capable of.
"The interplay between our backs and forwards was good, and some of the ball-carrying from big men like [props] Nepo [Laulala] and Ofa [Tu'ungafasi], on the back of some good play where we got the ball to space, was as good as we've done all year.
"But, just our ability to finish off…stopped the gap from getting big enough for us to play with a bit more freedom."
MacDonald said that when able to play in that fashion, there was a lot to like about the way the Blues played.
Constant team changes had resulted in a lack of cohesion at times, but he felt it was starting to emerge, and it would be bolstered by the returning five-eighths Beauden Barrett and Bryce Heem.
"We're in a good position with pretty much a full squad to pick from.
"We've just got to make sure we're better than the opposition. Do we have be a lot better? Yeah, we do. We'll be frustrated with parts of our game [on Friday], but we're getting the job done. We're winning, and that's the main thing in this game."