From being on the verge of going broke to now playing for a title tomorrow night against the Highlanders - it's been a crazy 18 months for the Blues Super Rugby franchise.
Since their last triumph in 2003, up and down seasons, poor decisions on and off the field, and most recently Covid-19 have led to plenty of frustration for fans, players and even the club’s front office.
In fact, CEO Andrew Hore admitted the latest challenge of the global pandemic was almost the final nail in the coffin.
Hore told 1 NEWS had it not been for last year’s sold out Super Rugby Aotearoa opener against the Hurricanes at Eden Park and tomorrow’s final at the same venue, they would have suffered devastating financial losses.
“Big numbers,” Hore said when asked of the figures.
“And I think it's fair to say all franchises are in a similar position.”
Unfortunately for the five Kiwi franchises, all the recent talk of Silver Lake or public share money isn’t a comforter for them like it is the 26 provinces with the clubs only licensees to New Zealand Rugby, meaning they won’t see a cent.
As a result, the franchises are looking for change and are working together to find it – even the Blues and Crusaders are getting chummy.
“I've been on the phone a few times to [Crusaders CEO] Colin Mansbridge asking him for advice how to run a final,” Hore admitted.
A win tomorrow night would be a huge boost for rugby's shop window in the country's biggest city and for an outfit once considered one of the best teams in the world, Hore said.
"There was a lack of pride,” Hore said.
“But we're building that pride again.”