The Blues have been blown away by the pre-season form of new recruit, All Blacks star Beauden Barrett, having returned to training for the new Super Rugby Aotearoa competition.
Initially given an extended off-season break after last year's Rugby World Cup in Japan, Barrett's intended Blues return was scuppered by the global sporting shutdown inflicted by Covid-19.
However, with the five New Zealand Super Rugby sides returning to training this week for the start of the Super Rugby Aotearoa on June 13, Barrett's return in particular has set tongues wagging.
The 28-year-old clocked a personal best in the Blues' pre-season "Bronco" test, setting the fastest time across the five New Zealand sides at four minutes and 12 seconds.
The Bronco test sees players run shuttles of 20, 40 and 60 metres as one set, repeated five times, the ideal being to clock in under five minutes.
For the record, former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw's personal best sits at four minutes and 56 seconds.
Speaking via Zoom earlier today, Blues hooker and stalwart James Parsons raved over the statement of intent shown by Barrett's early pre-season results.
"It's massive in terms of coming to the club," Parsons said.
"In terms of a PB [personal best], it shows that he's all in. That's what I really like from a personal point of view.
"He sent a real message that he's here to do the business."
Parsons also moved to temper any burden of expectation on Barrett, hailed as the man to see the Auckland side claim Super Rugby for the first time since 2003.
"It might not come in outcome straight away, but he's given himself the best opportunity to perform in a Blues jersey.
"That's what I as an individual, as a fan, as a player, really appreciate and respect.
"He's certainly got my respect for doing something like that on day one."
Barrett is in line to make his debut for the Blues in their first match of Super Rugby Aotearoa, coincidentally against the Hurricanes, who he left at the end of 2019.