That's more like it. Some spirit and attitude from the Blues.

A week is always a long time in rugby, waiting for retribution or to continue progress and nail a strong buildup.

It has been a tough time for the Blues after their flat opening defeat to the Highlanders, sorting out selections, digesting and freeing themselves of the woes in Dunedin.

Read: Blues find their spark as Crusaders implode


They were under the pump early, their fancy lineout wobbled and they were outfoxed down the blind. When Colin Slade scored, the Blues were facing massive trouble.

They needed to dig deep or risk embarrassment on their 2014 debut at their home ground. The Blues upped their work a notch and twin tries from wings Frank Halai and Tevita Li gave them the impetus when they both gassed Richie McCaw.

Teamwork is valued by every rugby coach but sometimes individual pieces of brilliance are just as treasured by the staff. There was one from raw lock Patrick Tuipulotu then another from his veteran partner Tom Donnelly which showed the character the Blues have been hunting.

Herald Rugby writers Gregor Paul and Patrick McKendry give their expert opinion and analysis after the Blues outplayed the Crusaders at Eden Park.

Donnelly ran out of defence, kicked, chased and made a tackle in a follow me message to his buddies. The fire in the Blues belly was being stoked. They had absorbed some early trauma and were now wreaking pain on their old rivals.

Belief from the wings' tries morphed into another furious burst after halftime as the Blues rode their tide of passion and sat the Crusaders on their ample behinds. They were united, they smelt the passion of battle and were up for it.