The Hurricanes might face the Blues on Friday without Dane Coles and Nehe Milner-Skudder as the pair's availability is still in doubt through injury.
Hooker and captain Coles sat out the first two rounds with a calf injury he sustained during training, while a leg injury kept outside back Milner-Skudder off the pitch during last weekend's defeat to the Highlanders.
A decision on the All Blacks internationals' availability will only be made later this week.
The Wellington-based franchise went down 40-12 to the Blues during their pre-season warm-up match at Eketahuna, and John Plumtree knows that the Canes' ball retention and defence will have to be on point this time around.
"They dusted us up in the pre-season game," Plumtree told NZ Newswire.
"They are big, really physical and they have game breakers and line-breakers all over the park."
"If we want to build that pressure, we're going to have to hold on to the ball for longer periods of time and take our opportunities.
"That's probably what's letting us down at this stage."