Super Rugby Trans-Tasman: Blues aim to lay foundation for further Super Rugby success

The Blues maintain there's still some way to go before they're the complete package they aspire to be as a franchise.

Chief executive Andrew Hore has already overseen a turnaround in the side's performances but he isn't content with simply being back in a Super Rugby final, as the Auckland franchise aim to cement their relevance. 

The team is preparing for its first final in 18 years, when they take on the Highlanders in the marquee game of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman at Eden Park on Saturday.

The trophy cabinet at Blues headquarters resembles more of a shelf, with their trophy from the Brisbane Tens in 2018 the last to be added.

But they're ready to make room for one more, with a long awaited title now within touching distance.

"I think it's testament to a whole lot of work that's gone on behind the scenes, with the board, right through to management and the team in the way they've approached the last two years," Hore tells Newshub.

The significance of the occasion isn't lost on the players, either.

"For the city, it's been a long time coming just to be here in the final, so for me it's pretty exciting too," says Blues prop Karl Tu'inukuafe.

But don't think Hore is satisfied with simply reaching the franchise's first final since 2003. It's a place Hore is desperate for the team to return to - and stay. 

"We still know there's a lot of work to be done yet," Hore admits. "We don't just want to be winning one year, we want sustainable success over a long period of time, so we still have a long way to go."

Attracting names like Beauden Barrett and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will help with that, but Hore's focus is not so much recruiting stars, as harnessing their current ones to build more depth.

"Our focus needs to remain on keeping the All Blacks and great squad players that we have, while continuing to bring through players from our area," he says.  "That's the ideal model."

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Join us at 7pm Saturday, for live updates of the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman final between the Blues and the Highlanders