Tense Kirwan lauds mature Blues

Sun, 05 May 2013 12:33
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Blues coach John Kirwan hailed his team’s mature performance to see off the Stormers 18-17 at North Harbour Stadium on Friday.

Blues coach John Kirwan hailed his team’s ‘mature’ performance to see off the Stormers 18-17 at North Harbour Stadium on Friday.

Curbing their natural instincts to run the ball from anywhere, the Blues kept it tight and forced the Stormers into making errors from which Chris Noakes was able to capitalise, nailing six penalty kicks from seven attempts – the most by any Blues player.

Kirwan’s men adapted their gameplan brilliantly for the Stormers, refusing to kick the ball into touch and offer them the opportunity to utilise their powerful rolling maul.

They also fronted where it mattered most – in defence. Against a bruising forward pack, the Blues were a brick wall as they smashed into the opposition and won the contact battle.

Kirwan said he was thrilled with the maturity his side showed to grind out the win.

“I’m really, really proud of them to be honest – they just gutsed it out. I think it was a game that was played tactically well. We stayed down there and took our penalties,” Kirwan said.

“We talked about frustration all week which is what the Stormers do to you. We want to play football. This is a fantastic football side and they just shut you down,” he said.

“But we still managed to carry for five or six rucks and we knew if we could do that they’d maybe infringe and that’s what happened. We got 18 points out of that just by actually sticking to it, being disciplined, getting back and starting again.

“That’s showing real maturity from the boys because it’s a hard style of game when you’re Francis Saili, Charles Piutau and Rene Ranger.”

Leading 15-3 midway through the second half, two tries to Stormers captain Jean de Villiers in the final quarter brought the game to a nail-biting climax as the visitors closed the scores up to just one point.

With the siren sounding, the Stormers held the ball for more than three minutes as they tried to force the Blues into an error, but the Blues managed to hold on to record a brilliant victory.

Kirwan admitted it was a tense final few minutes in the coaches box.

“I didn’t really see much, my heart was pounding and I thought why am I doing this?” he said.

“So did I mate!” captain Ali Williams chimed in during the press conference.

“I took the radio headset off and stood up and just thought this is really up to them to tough it out, there’s not much we could do. I was just really proud of them. The discipline they showed for 43 minutes in the second half, just staying in the line, getting up and making their tackles was quite outstanding.”

In the build-up to Friday’s game, Kirwan said it was a season-defining game for his side against the Stormers as they looked to maintain their position in the top six.

They did just that as the Blues currently sit in fifth position on the overall ladder, but Kirwan knows it is back to work on Monday to prepare for another tough game.

“It’s vital for us to win every week because the pressure just mounts. If you come off a loss like we did last week, if we didn’t win tonight we’d be under the pump so it was a really critical game for us, just like the Stormers.

“De Villiers said during the week it was a critical game for them too but it doesn’t change the fact that we’ve got to come out here again next week and have another big game.”

The Blues face the Melbourne Rebels at Eden Park next Saturday.

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 8 5 1 2 24
Rebels 87 4 0 4 21
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 15
Reds 8 3 0 5 13
Sunwolves 8 0 0 8 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 6 0 2 29
Hurricanes 7 6 0 1 27
Chiefs 8 6 0 2 26
Highlanders 7 5 0 2 24
Blues 8 2 0 6 12
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 30
Bulls 8 4 0 4 19
Sharks 9 3 1 5 18
Jaguares 9 4 0 5 16
Stormers 9 3 0 6 14