Questions riddle the underperforming Blues and coach Pat Lam yesterday presented another puzzle to add to the decay.
As Lam went through his comprehensive plans at the start of this season, he made a note of his five indispensable players.
Their identities remain secret but yesterday Lam revealed that his most valued trio on that list were all injured.
"I put out a top five list of who we can't afford to lose when we are trying to manage them through the season and unfortunately the top three on that list are missing," Lam said.
Top three? Take your pick. At the moment skipper Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock, Anthony Boric, Jerome Kaino, Isaia Toeava, Rudi Wulf, Brad Mika and Ma'a Nonu are classified as on the injured list. Weepu can't be in the top trio nor Ali Williams because they are available for Friday's next match against the Hurricanes.
So who rates in the highest group? Perhaps captain Mealamu, NZ player of the year Kaino and the dazzling backline utility values of Toeava.
It is as much a conundrum as the woes which continue to bedevil the Blues.
Lam was up for his week-opening inquest after the Blues' latest 23-11 loss to the Reds.
Despite threats that he would weed out the villains who did not adhere to plans for that game, Lam had softened his approach yesterday as he pointed out his lack of alternative selections.
The Blues had taken a big injury hit and he felt other players were guilty of trying too hard. When they were low on confidence they made mistakes in trying too much.
On the spur of the moment someone got edgy and tried something and that caused problems. They were not on the same wavelength.
Lam denied it was purely a coaching issue, suggesting it was a learning curve for some in his squad. He would press on with his work.
"We always say there are always learnings and probably the big question is what are those learnings."
Injured senior players like Mealamu, Woodcock and Kaino were all dissecting matches from the coaches' box and seeing how frustrating it was to watch a Blues side which did not follow instructions.
They were trying hard but feeling more pressure at the lack of results. They would persevere, they were not giving up but they were limited in their choices.
"The cattle is low at the moment," Lam said. "When you don't have other options you have to keep working and growing the ones you have.
"That is all part of our week."
The Blues had to be better and when Lam talked to the public he picked up plenty of negative discussion about the squad.
"I ask them, tell me who you would put in there. It is easy to say this guy is not playing well but who are you going to put in, who is the option?
"Most people I talk to can't give me any options either."
All Black coach Steve Hansen would visit the squad next week, Lam said. The pair had talked already and Hansen was not too concerned about individuals who would be in the All Black frame.
Did Lam think his senior All Blacks would all make the June cut?
"I would say they have got pretty good reputations and they have done the work but that is up to Steve, it is not my call."By Wynne Gray Email Wynne