Four years ago almost to the day, Blues legends Keven Mealamu and Jerome Kaino led the team on to the QBE North Harbour Stadium pitch through a corridor of past players who had done similarly great things for Auckland and the franchise; think Michael Jones, Eroni Clarke and Joeli Vidiri.
Mealamu was celebrating the achievement of becoming the most capped player in Super Rugby (since overtaken by Wyatt Crockett's 202). Kaino was marking his 100th cap for the Blues. The team had just returned from a South African tour and had yet to win a match. It was their third of the season.
The Lions were the opposition that night, and they weren't the Lions that have developed into South Africa's best Super Rugby team of the past couple of years. They were big lumps but limited, although they did possess one Faf de Klerk, the little halfback who was on the reserves bench and ran like a mouse released from a cage in the second half. It was a game the Blues had to win, and yet they flunked it, the Lions winning 13-10.
Mealamu got probably the biggest cheer of the night when he was replaced just after halftime. Kaino, the enforcer, left the field with blood streaming from his head and went back on, the red blotches clearly showing through the white bandages.
The point of this isn't to rake over the dead coals of past Blues' failures, although that one was one of their worst, but to suggest Leon MacDonald's team will be expected to beat the Sunwolves tomorrow despite their winless record this season and a trip home from Durban via Buenos Aires.
And like that night four years ago they will have a special reason to perform well. The entire squad attended Mike Tamoaieta's funeral today and will run out on to the pitch tomorrow in a jersey paying tribute to their former teammate.
It's easy to agree with Leon MacDonald's suggestion that the team did incredibly well to play the way they did against the Jaguares last weekend, 24 hours after the tragic news was broken in a team meeting. As he said, they were only a disallowed try away from an extremely courageous victory.
Unfortunately, they didn't play with enough composure on attack and the very same problem was evident four years ago against the Lions which left their initially supportive fans growing restless and grumbling in their seats.
An hour or so after the recent Jaguares loss, assistant coach Tom Coventry said it appeared his players were the ones under the most pressure when they were in the opposition red zone, rather than the Argentine players.
He was right. So, how to approach their next match, a welcome one at home in front of an expectant crowd?
It's easy to talk about composure and making the right decisions, but that can inhibit, too. Maybe it would be best to run on to the field with orders to express themselves ringing in their ears.
They have the ability to beat defenders and score tries from anywhere. Maybe the message should be simply to honour Mikey's memory by having fun, to run with the ball with the enthusiasm and unbridled optimism that he did.
Take the pressure and expectations off. After all, as they would have quickly realised over the past few days, it's only a game.