John Kirwan: Blues can still make the top-six

GLENN MCLEAN
Last updated 13:20 10/05/2014

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Blues coach John Kirwan has refused to concede his side's play-off chances are over after last night's 32-20 loss to the Chiefs in New Plymouth.

Now 10 points behind the New Zealand conference leading Chiefs, Kirwan said they were still in with a chance of making the top six, despite their precarious position on the table.

''I'm not concerned, really,'' he said.

''We've got two home games now and then the rest of the season, so we're there or there abouts. It would have been nice to win and we are under pressure because they will go into the break with the points and we go in without them.

''We just have to make sure we get home, lick our wounds a bit and make sure we win those two home games and get back on the horse.''

The Blues will be without All Blacks fullback Charles Piutau for the rest of their season after he suffered a grade two medial ligament strain to his left knee in the first half.

It has ruled him out for six to eight weeks, a period which will probably preclude him from the three home tests against England next month.

Kirwan felt the Chiefs took their chances off the Blues errors, with his side lacking composure at vital times.

''Like I said, there was a try in it really and I was really happy with the way our guys hung in the fight. We were breaking through the midfield but there was a couple of lapses and they scored two good tries.

''I thought we probably deserved to score late and come away with a point but that's the way it goes.''

Decision making, particularly near the end of the match, was also a problem. The Blues persisted in trying to bash their way over close instead of taking the ball wide, despite the visitors having a man advantage after Tim Nanai-Williams was yellow carded.

''They are on the field and have to make those decisions and I think we were breaking through the middle. We sent Piri [Weepu] on the field to bring a bit of maturity, so they must have seen a couple of things and had a go at it.

''I can't blame them for having a crack. We through plenty at them and I don't think they got out of their half for 20 minutes, but we just couldn't crack them. Good on them.'' 

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