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Blues still eyeing Super Rugby finals

NZN 6/05/2017 Darren Walton

Buoyed by a rare one-two punch in Australia and unfazed by the challenges of the cut-throat New Zealand conference, the resurgent Blues believe they can still make the Super Rugby finals.

Tana Umaga's men remain last in the tournament's toughest division, but successive wins in Australia for the first time in five years and a first victory over the NSW Waratahs in Sydney since 2003 has given the side hope.

"We still believe we're a chance, so we take it week by week," Blues captain James Parsons said after Saturday night's 40-33 victory at Allianz Stadium.

"We've got the Cheetahs next and if we get a win there, we're still alive.

"What we need is probably the Highlanders to drop a game to bring us level pegging and we're back in with a chance."

Despite boasting five wins from 10 matches compared to the Waratahs' three, the Blues remain a longer shot to reach the playoffs than the Sydneysiders, such is the complex - and many say unfair - nature of conference-style finals format.

But Parsons has no complaints.

"From our point of view, to win this competition, you've got to beat the best teams," the hooker said.

"And if we've got the most opportunity to play those teams more often, it gives us a better opportunity if we can get into the finals to win it."

The Blues' victory over the Waratahs came after the Auckland outfit kept Australia's conference-leading Brumbies tryless in Canberra.

The successful road trip has the Blues camp buzzing.

"I've been in this team a long time and it hasn't been done that often," Parsons said.

"I'm really proud of the group; proud of the coaching group, management, all of the staff.

"The effort that goes in just for this two weeks, we knew how important it was and to get the results, it's awesome."

Umaga also preferred to focus on the positive of beating the Brumbies and Waratahs back-to-back on the road rather than the controversial finals format.

"The structure of it is what it is and we realised that right from the start and knew what we had to do," he said.

"We probably haven't done it as good as we would have liked and it's only just highlighted how it is again. That's the life.

"We know we've got to be able to beat teams in our own conference and that's what we strive for.

"And if we can't, then that means we've got to improve and we want to improve and get better and we're slowly doing that."

Sonny Bill Williams could be in doubt for the Cheetahs match after failing a concussion test and not returning after being forced off in the first half on Saturday night.

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