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Set piece needs work for Blues

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Sportal.co.nz     07 Apr 2013     Getty Images

The side needed to be able to nail those facets of play at critical times, coach Sir John Kirwan said.

"We just go back to the drawing board, understand the reasons why."

"It was a really important evening for us from a confidence point of view," Kirwan said. He was impressed with the courage the side showed in holding out the Highlanders especially in the scrums they mounted on the Blues five-metre line.

"We needed to win and we did some great things, and we did some funny things. But in the environment we needed to win. We've come off three losses and we got the win and I'm really proud of the guys," he said.

The defence of the side, especially when wing George Moala was sin-binned for a high tackle on Buxton Popoali'i, and at the end of the game had been outstanding and rewarded the work the team put in on improving their line speed during the week, Kirwan said.

The effort of Jackson Willison in midfield had bolstered the desire to have competition for places in the side, right throughout the team.

"We want everyone being put under pressure to perform week-in, week-out. Everyone [substitutes] injected into the game and created a selection nightmare for the coaches and that is what we want," he said.

Captain Ali Williams had no qualms with the extra care taken by the match officials in getting their rulings correct by use of the video technology, even if it did extend the game finish time.

It was a positive move and while there was waiting time involved it also allowed players time to reflect.

"Sometimes as a captain you ask them to go back too much. There is too much riding on a game now to get decisions wrong and this just helps the refs," he said.

It was a challenge when less experienced members of the side were undertaking plays in critical parts of the game with a little too much risk, he said.

It would be better if they walked them at times rather than rushing at it.

"But that's what you're going to get. They want to play, they want to try things," he said