The ice was piled high on the Blues players during their short bus ride from Ellis Park, the scene of their incredible victory over the Lions this morning, and their hotel, and for once they had it in their veins when the game was in the balance.
They were behind 14-0 after almost as many minutes, and then 21-3, but despite their disrupted build-up and the fact they were playing at altitude without their halfback and skipper Augustine Pulu, there was no sign of the brain fades which left the Highlanders and Chiefs off the hook this season.
There were mistakes, yes, and several in the dying minutes could have been costly, but their self-belief never wavered.
It remains to be seen whether this thrilling 38-35 victory, sealed in the final minute when replacement flanker Murphy Taramai went over by the posts, is a turning point, but it did prove that they have the ability to be ruthless and stay in a game they probably had no right to be in.
"As you'd expect after a hard-fought win, the spirits are high," coach Tana Umaga said afterwards. "We're going to enjoy this win."
Umaga may have to call up a prop to replace Alex Hodgman, who was taken to hospital with a suspected broken arm, but the Blues will travel to Capetown and their match against the Stormers with a new confidence after one of the best victories of the coach's tenure and certainly the best away win under him.
Asked about his feelings in the final five minutes as the Blues scored converted tries through first Jimmy Tupou and then Taramai, he said: "It was pretty intense obviously. We've been close and it's gone the other way.
"I think in terms of the confidence we can get out of it, it's great. But we've still got to put in the work. We know how hard it was to get to this stage. We need consistency in our preparation so we can have that in our performance."
The Lions, last year's beaten finalists on this ground, looked strangely rattled in the second half after Akira Ioane scored on the stroke of halftime to narrow the gap to 21-10 and give his side a little hope.
Stand-in skipper James Parsons said: "Sometimes something like Akira's try can swing that momentum and we obviously went to the shed with a bit of confidence."
Bryn Gatland missed two penalties in the third quarter, but with the Blues winning a mountain of ball, and, crucially, executing, Rieko Ioane scored two tries in six minutes as the game went into the final 20 minutes, and while Dylan Smith got one back for the Lions, the Blues were almost irresistible in the dying moments.
"It's a massive win at Ellis Park and it's about using those motivators and the momentum from it in a positive light and building our season week by week," Parsons said.
There were teething issues in the midfield, where Rieko Ioane and Sonny Bill Williams took time to settle, but Ioane's interventions were crucial and so were Williams'. After an uncertain start and several handling errors, it was Williams' break which had the Blues frantically attacking the line in the last minute in front of a stunned crowd and replacement loosie Taramai was the beneficiary.
Rieko's big brother Akira was a dominant figure throughout, and so were locks Patrick Tuipulotu and Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, with Scott Scrafton making an impact off the bench.
All of Umaga's replacements made a contribution, and of those Stephen Perofeta's was perhaps the most significant.
Gatland was good, but Perofeta, back for his first match of the season after recovering from a hand injury, impressed hugely with his composure and ability to create time and space for himself and his backline.
The No1 first-five at the start of the season, Perofeta must be favourite to start at No10 against the Stormers next weekend.
For Parsons, who said he and his side were looking forward to putting right a few wrongs against the Stormers after last year's controversial defeat, the victory over the Lions ranks near the Blues' win over the British and Irish Lions.
"I just texted my old man and said this is one I'll remember forever. There's a lot of history at Ellis Park and I'm a traditionalist as most people know, and a bit of a code head. I certainly will take this to my grave with a smile on my face but I'll worry about that in years to come."
Blues 38 (Rieko Ioane 2, Akira Ioane, Jimmy Tupou, Murphy Taramai tries; Bryn Gatland pen, con, Stephen Perofeta 4 cons)
Lions 35 (Sylvian Mahuza, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Elton Jantjies, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Dylan Smith tries; Jantjies 5 cons)
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