Super Rugby 2020: Leon MacDonald determined to fix Blues' second-half woes

The Blues have started the Super Rugby season in familiar fashion after squandering a 14-point halftime lead, to lose 37-29 to the Chiefs at Eden Park in Auckland. 

The Blues have made a habit of blowing halftime leads over the years and it has cost them dearly at times. Friday night was no different. 

A brace to All Black Rieko Ioane helped the Blues lead 19-5 at the break. But the introduction of All Blacks' midfielder Anton Liernert-Brown and two-time Super Rugby champion Aaron Cruden helped spur the Chiefs to victory.

While Liernert-Brown and Cruden played their roles in the Chiefs' fightback, the Blues were their own worst enemy at times with costly errors and turnovers. 

Blues coach Leon MacDonald knows there is plenty to improve on this season, but his focus will be to get a full 80-minute performance out of his side.  

"We don't want to be doing this too often," said a disappointed MacDonald. "When you get a lead like that it's important we do the job in the second half.

"We'll be real about that and review it properly and make sure it's front of mind and something we need to rectify."

MacDonald said his team was "optimistic at halftime" after a dominating first half where the Blues looked like a rejuvenated side from the one which has finished last in the New Zealand conference over the year. 

But the impact of the Chiefs' bench played their part and momentum began to change as the scores got closer.

"There was a lot to smile about going into the sheds," MacDonald said of the halftime break.

"I thought they played particularly well. The impact off the bench was great. Cruden in particular I thought was outstanding and you could see the old wise head take control.

"On the flip side of that our error-rate was too high which kept feeding them opportunities. A lot of their tries came off our mistakes, so we were nearly assisting some of their play.

"It's frustrating. We looked really good there and had the wind in the second half and were unable to capitalise." 

The Blues will look to bounce back next week when they face the Waratahs in Sydney. 

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