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Kirwan: 'We've achieved nothing'

Tue, 26 Feb 2013 11:20
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Let's just make sure we get it right for this week
Quote-end

The Blues may have opened their Super Rugby account with a bonus point victory, but coach John Kirwan is keeping his team's feet firmly on the ground.

The Auckland side showed great character to fight back and beat the Hurricanes in Wellington last week, but Kirwan knows that they face an even greater challenge when they welcome the Crusaders to Auckland on Friday.

"We've achieved nothing," Kirwan said.

"We're excited, we're happy but let's just make sure we get it right for this week," he added.

The Blues may be riding high on confidence, but Kirwan warned that they will have to improve significantly across the board if they are to continue their winning ways against a Crusaders side full of All Blacks.

"We've got a call 'better never stops' so we've asked all of them individually to see where they can improve," he said.

"We need to make sure we get ourselves up mentally. We're the underdogs at home and a lot of people are talking about them (the Crusaders) being champions so this is going to be a big week for us and a big game," he added.

While the Blues are coming off a physical encounter in Wellington, the Crusaders will head into Friday night's game at Eden Park fresh and raring to go in what will be their first match of the season.

Kirwan was pleased with the line-out and believed the set piece would be critical to his team's success against the Red and Blacks.

"From the line-out point of view we were pretty happy, we won 100% of our ball so that was a real positive. We know that their line-out will probably be coming to town to attack us, they've got All Black locks so that's going to be a tough one.

"We need to keep working hard on the scrum, we need to make sure we keep heading in the right direction so the set piece is going to be fundamental on Friday night."

The team had been told to express themselves within a gameplan and Kirwan feels his side is still getting to grips with finding the right balance.

"We've created a gameplan we think suits our athletes and the types of players we are, and if you feel it's on have a go. I think for us it's just getting that balance.

"We need to find that balance between playing in their half and playing in ours and that's a fine line so we need to make sure they have the freedom to go but we don't put ourselves under too much pressure," he explained.

Kirwan was particularly pleased with flyhalf Chris Noakes' performance on debut for the Blues.

"Analysing the game, and I've only seen it 254 times, I think he really did what we needed him to do. He attacked the line well, I thought he was solid in defence and drove the team around the park. In the second half really got the balance right so I think he played well," he said.

Peter Saili is the only injury concern ahead of Friday night's match against the Crusaders. The No.8 is suffering from a bruised Achilles and will sit out of training early this week but is expected to be fit come game day.
 

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