In holding on to beat the Force in Perth, the Blues won two matches on their South African road trip for the first time in eight years. But now they must regroup before playing the Crusaders at Eden Park.

The Blues made it difficult for themselves at nib Stadium, going out to a 17-3 lead through well-taken tries from Jerome Kaino and Tevita Li - in his case, a spectacular, long-range effort. They then held on grimly on as the Force fell short in their comeback, the visitors winning 17-13.

They are due to arrive home this morning and will set about recovering from their travel and jetlag before playing what coach Tana Umaga described as one of the form teams of the competition.

"It's not pretty but probably the pleasing thing for us was we got our grit and determination back and put a bit of pride back into a jersey that we cherish. We didn't have that last week against the Lions," Umaga said.


That seven-try hammering in Johannesburg was a low point for Umaga and the Blues, and a loss in Perth would have twisted the dagger.

They had a good go at it, losing first Charlie Faumuina and then Nic Mayhew to the sinbin at the end of each half and giving away an astonishing 15 penalties to the Force's three.

"It's something we need to find a solution to because after the break, we went away from what was working for us and made a couple of errors," Umaga said. "All of a sudden, we're defending for 35 minutes, which is pretty tough. Our discipline didn't help either with two guys in the bin and giving away silly penalties."

Umaga said of the Crusaders, who comprehensively beat the Waratahs 29-10 and will welcome back giant wing Nemani Nadolo for Saturday: "It's very tough. They're the form team and we're probably the competition battlers. We've got nothing to lose, we're playing at home after being away for three weeks. It's not hard to get ourselves up for it."

Umaga will await injury reports on prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi's concussion and the ankle injury which ruled out front rower Sam Prattley. Matt McGahan, like Prattley, was ruled out of the match late in the week, although in the case of the inside back it was after the captain's run. McGahan suffered a leg injury in kicking practice. There is a suspicion, too, Faumuina has a calf strain, and flanker Tanerau Latimer a knee issue.