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Saturday, April 21, 2012    Sportal.co.nz    Getty Images

The Blues turned down two kickable penalties, which would have given them a 30-all draw, and were just thwarted in their efforts to score a match-winning last-minute try.

"I'm getting used to these close finishes," Joseph said after the 30-27 victory. "I thought we were fortunate to win. A draw would probably have been fairer.

"I guess you take your hat off to the Blues. They wanted to win it with a try. They played well and they were very effective at slowing our ball down.

"Our discipline was disappointing and we need to work on our scrum. But there were some good signs going forward. I thought Hosea Gear had probably his best game of the season and Mike Delany and Tamati Ellison showed their class."

Joseph said the Gordon Hunter Memorial Trophy, which the Highlanders regained for the first time since 2006, was big motivation for the Highlanders.

"When the game got tight, the sentimental little things associated with the Gordon Hunter Memorial Trophy really played a part in our win. I'm glad we were able to acknowledge a man who was a big part of my rugby career. The only way to do that was to win."

Joseph said a squad of 26 will fly to South Africa this weekend for matches against the Cheetahs and Sharks.

Kade Poki is in doubt after rolling an ankle in practice, which ruled him out of the Blues game. Phil Burleigh broke his nose against the Blues but will probably travel and Ben Smith, who missed the match because of concussion, will also be on the plane.

"To go to South African with a win is half the solution to the jet lag, I reckon," Joseph said. "It would have been hard if we had lost.

"The Cheetahs have been outstanding this season. They play running rugby, they took the Chiefs to the wire last week and it's going to be a hell of a match."