As the wind and rain continued to lash Auckland on Saturday, Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd gave a simple message to his team ahead of their match against the Blues.
"We talked before the game about the things you usually associate the Hurricanes with," he said. "We wanted to change that for tonight [to] things like 'clinical' and 'accurate' and 'patient' ... I think generally we were able to put into play most of the things we tried."
The stereotype of a Hurricanes team which relies on individual brilliance, and is prone to inconsistency, even flakiness, has been well and truly put to bed now.
Boyd's assessment of the Hurricanes' comprehensive 29-5 victory at a cold and wet Eden Park was probably overly modest, too. The Blues were shorn of their best players thanks to a terrible injury toll, but after a competitive opening 30 minutes in which they found themselves defending without respite, the cracks appeared which this increasingly clinical Hurricanes team were easily able to exploit.
They arrived at what has been the Blues' fortress with a perfect away record this season, and with 11 wins out of 12 matches the contrast with John Kirwan's battlers could hardly be greater, but perhaps the most impressive aspect of the win was the performance of Boyd's forwards, who were missing a few big names themselves, including Ben Franks and James Broadhurst.
It was a relentless physical barrage from the men in black and yellow - led by skipper Jeremy Thrush and fellow lock Mark Abbott, plus flanker Blade Thomson - and the Blues had no answer, with perhaps only loose forward Akira Ioane able to match their intensity.
Hooker Dane Coles said afterwards: "The coaches put it on the forwards to front up and I think we did that, we kept grinding it out so I'm pretty happy."
Asked what the secret ingredient was this year as the Hurricanes have swept nearly all before them and appear set to qualify for not only a home semifinal but also, potentially, a final, Coles laughed.
"Confidence is a big thing," he said. "When you're playing well, I don't know what it is, it's easy to get up. And in conditions like those, if you don't control things up front you're going to be in for a difficult night.
"We've just been playing week to week and playing consistent footy. It's working well for us. We also have good depth in the team and good experience. Things are going quite nicely at the moment."
Boyd added: "When we're all together and playing well we've got a forward pack that's been under-rated. I think everyone has talked about the Hurricanes having a champion backline and we've got some very good players in our backline, but when you look at the best pack we could put out it's a pretty fair forward pack."
Boyd confirmed the Hurricanes would face the Crusaders in Nelson on Friday without Beauden Barrett, who is still out with a knee problem. Otere Black will again wear the No 10 jersey after doing a good job at short notice against the Blues following the late withdrawal of Cory Jane.
If Barrett is available for their next game against the Highlanders, Black will travel to Italy to join up with the New Zealand Under-20s team.
The Blues will have this bye week off before returning to play the Crusaders and Highlanders at Eden Park. The end of their wretched season is nigh after losing even their good recent record at home. The last time they were beaten there was against the Chiefs in their final game of last season.
Kirwan said: "The Hurricanes are a class outfit. We didn't have any possession and they were very physical. We were beaten by a better team."