Blues coach Leon MacDonald is lamenting his side's discipline, after Sunday's 43-27 loss to the Crusaders in Super Rugby Aotearoa.
Both sides scored four tries apiece at Eden Park, but the Blues' high penalty count allowed the Crusaders to claim bragging rights over their Auckland rivals for another year - thanks to the boot of Richie Mo'unga.
"I think most of the stats would be pretty equal," MacDonald says. "The discipline wasn't, they were better than us.
"We'd been really good with discipline up to now. That's the first game that we've got on the wrong side of the ledger around the discipline and that's disappointing for us.
"But overall, there were a lot of areas in the game where we felt we were competing well."
Aside from the Blues' discipline, MacDonald says his side proved that they're capable of challenging for the Super Rugby Aotearoa title, after pushing the Crusaders all the way.
Mo'unga's five penalties and four conversions have left the Blues searching for a drought-ending win over the Crusaders - they haven't tasted victory against the reigning Super Rugby Aotearoa champions since 2014.
Overall, the Crusaders have now won 13 successive matches against the Blues.
"It was four tries each," MacDonald added. "The scrums had good parity, we contested well around the tackle breakdown area and we were able to create space.
"There's a lot to be happy and excited about, but we've got to be better than what we were, because ultimately, the scoreboard reflects a dominant victory to them.
"So there's enough for us to take away, to feel optimistic around how we're tracking and how we're playing, and if we were beat up in a lot of those areas, I'd feel differently, but I don't think we were."
The loss sees the Blues stay second in Super Rugby Aotearoa with nine points, nine behind the Crusaders, albeit from one less game.
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