The Blues have begun their campaign for the 2023 Super Rugby season with a preseason blowout in Auckland today, hitting the training fields for broncos.
Broncos - a notorious exercise among athletes - is a fitness test where players run shuttles of 20 metres, 40 metres, and 60 metres, five times over as quickly as they can; effectively a 1.2km time trial with sharp, 180-degree turns throughout.
While no one came close to star Beauden Barrett's record time of four minutes and 12 seconds today, first-five Jock McKenzie posted a respectable time of 4 minutes and 24 seconds to lead the pack.
"I don't think it's ever enjoyable to be fair but we got through it," McKenzie said.
"I'm getting there, hopefully it'll drop down over the next few weeks.
"I just go as hard as I can and hope I can hold on, to be honest."
The Blues have three weeks of training before they break up briefly for the festive season with their All Blacks stars exempt having just finished their seasons with the end-of-year tour.
It means other players in the squad can take the spotlight for the time being such as loose forward Rob Rush - son of sevens legend Eric Rush - who turned up for the bronco having helped his dad's sevens team win a tournament last weekend.
"He kept me on pretty much the whole time," Rush said.
Rush ran a 4:33 today and said he didn't mind the brutal training although adjusting to life as a professional rugby player was a "culture shock".
"I wouldn't call it a holiday but it's everything I've been looking forward to," he said.
"This is what every little boy's dream is is to get to this point so I don't see it as a big thing. I find it quite enjoyable."
Rush added he didn't take the bronco too seriously and hoped the same for his teammates.
"I know heaps of fellas who are poor in the gym or aren't fit at a bronco but play like the next Ardie Savea," he said.
"It's good to show that people have been working over the summer but it's not all doom and gloom if you don't."