Last week Mike Delany was kicking the Highlanders to a hard-earned Super Rugby victory over the Bulls.

This Saturday, his impact will be limited to coming off the bench against the rock-bottom Blues at Eden Park, but the reliable first five-eighth is still wary of confronting the wounded Aucklanders at home.

The Highlanders have won just once at Eden Park, in 2002, in 17 years of Super Rugby and Delany has no expectation of an easy ride this weekend despite the fact that the Blues are backing up from a 59-12 demolition by the Crusaders.

"The thing is that the Blues are so unpredictable and they can beat anybody on their day," he said.

"They've got a lot of quality players, they've got nothing to lose and we're very wary of that. They could be very effective spoilers."

Delany says the Highlanders haven't put together an 80-minute performance for some time, and need to deliver one on Saturday.

Last time the two teams met, just over a month ago in Dunedin, the Highlanders edged home 30-27 with Delany contributing 20 points.

Delany's goal-kicking, four out of five, was also crucial in the 16-11 win over the Bulls, and he is confident the Highlanders can sustain the intensity of that match against the Blues.

"We were pretty happy with the outcome. It was good to snap our losing streak and hopefully that gives us confidence going to Auckland," he said.

"But there are definitely a lot of areas we can improve on. It was difficult to break the Bulls' defence."

Delany has taken over as the Highlanders' playmaker after season-ending injuries to Colin Slade and Lima Sopoaga, although back-up No.10 Chris Noakes will start against the Blues.

NZ Newswire

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