Auckland based Super Rugby franchise the Blues have turned to using a mental skills coach in order to improve their away record.
The Blues salvaged a draw against the Reds in Brisbane before Easter but that only extended an almost two year wait for an away victory.
The Blues face the Jaguares this weekend at QBE North Harbour Stadium which is their second home and a venue at which they have lost their last three matches.
The Blues feel that if they want to start improving their away record they need to start with their second home which is why they have brought in Kylie Wilson.
The Blues have not won in Albany since May 2013 when they beat the Stormers 18-17 and Parsons who is standing in as captain while regular skipper Jerome Kaino is out injured knows the team’s record all too well.
“A rugby field is a rugby field,” he told the NZHerald.
“We’re doing a lot of work on the mental side of the game with Kylie Wilson. ”
“We’ve shown in the past against big teams that we can win there. I don’t think a ground really plays too much into it. It’s about how you prepare and how well you know your role.”
Parsons added: “We acknowledge it’s an issue and it’s something we’re striving to improve. ”
“Yes, we didn’t get the result in Queensland but a draw is better than a loss. For a young group to bring that game home the way they did, I was extremely proud of that effort because with 10 minutes to go and 10 points behind, I don’t know if in the past we would have had the common sense or rugby nous to get across the line but they did it with great self belief and execution.”
The Blues were awarded a late penalty in the final moments against the Reds and it was the coaches that sent the message down to Ihaia West to kick the penalty rather than go for the try. It was fairly clear that West was not happy with the decision but Parsons says that it was the right one and now everyone had agreed on it now.
“It came down early – that’s what the coaches decided,” Parsons said.
“I think it was brave of the coaches to take it out of the players’ hands. Josh (Bekhuis) was captain at the time and it made a very difficult decision easy for the players.”
The Blues opponents this week the Jaguares have already arrived in Auckland after losing two home matches and Parsons is expecting a high paced match with plenty of running.
“They’re an electric bunch – they’re the highest offloading team in the competition,” Parsons said.
“We’re aware of their No.9, No.15 and No.10, who like to run around and speed the game up, and their forwards are big men who don’t mind throwing the odd basketball pass.”