As far as experiments go, it wasn't a great one.
So it should be no surprise when Blues coach Sir John Kirwan announces the return of his A team tomorrow.
In hindsight, making six changes to a side that was humming did not work for the Blues. The timing was always risky.
After consecutive upsets they lost consistency; lost their first match of the season to the Bulls and lost momentum going into the bye.
But that's where the losses should stop, for now, provided they take care of the struggling Waratahs on Sunday.
A win in Sydney is paramount to minimise the damage and retain the positive start ahead of a defining three-match run against New Zealand opposition - Chiefs (away), Highlanders (home) and Hurricanes (home).
It's not that individuals cost the Blues their unblemished record against the Bulls, more they lacked the cohesive ability to adapt under pressure and pre-empt their team-mates' next move.
"We made some changes," Kirwan reflected. "A lot of those changes actually played well. I don't think there were any issues around the changes costing us the game. It was about performance and being ready to play; we've learnt from that."
Kirwan is expected to again make six changes to his starting side. In should come No 8 Peter Saili, lock Culum Retallick, prop Tom McCartney, hooker James Parsons, wing George Moala and, most importantly, first five-eighth Chris Noakes.
"I'll probably be looking at a similar side that started the first couple," Kirwan confirmed.
Noakes' inclusion was a must. The pivot has been a calming influence, both with astute tactical kicking and controlling the point of attack, for a young back-line.
His partnership with in-form All Blacks halfback Piri Weepu provides mature guidance.
Saili's return to the back of the scrum is another boost that allows the impressive Steven Luatua to revert to his natural blindside role.
For the first time in his enigmatic career, Saili seemed to be delivering consistent go-forward and touches of flair before being rested.
His presence is imperative as the Blues need their loose-forwards to dominate arguably the most physical Australian pack.
Add former All Blacks lock Anthony Boric - in his first match back from the bench - and the Blues appear to have regained their balance.
Fresh off the bye, Kirwan's men will be favoured to roll the battered 'Tahs, in a major hole after one win from four games.
Already missing Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau and No 8 Wycliff Palu, their woes deepened with test playmaker Berrick Barnes sidelined for five to six weeks after dislocating his thumb in the one-point defeat to the Cheetahs.
Not that Kirwan was taking them lightly.
"It doesn't help that the Waratahs are probably under the pump," he noted. "I saw [coach] Michael Cheika on the news, he doesn't look too happy with the way his team is going. It makes for a bigger game."
Likely Blues line-up: Charles Piutau, Frank Halai, Rene Ranger, Francis Saili, George Moala, Chris Noakes, Piri Weepu, Peter Saili, Luke Braid, Steven Luatua, Ali Williams (C), Culum Retallick, Charlie Faumuina, James Parsons, Tom McCartney
- © Fairfax NZ News
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