Blues have sound platform for 2017
REACTION: Blues coach Tana Umaga believes his team has laid a sound platform from which to launch their campaign in 2017.
The Blues finished a disappointing 2016 campaign with back-to-back wins over Australian opposition - beating the Waratahs 34-28 at Eden Park on Friday.
That followed last week's 40-15 demolition of the Brumbies, also in Auckland.
The Blues finished their first season under Umaga as head coach with eight wins, six losses and one draw.
Umaga has preached all season that the aim was to improve game-by-game and they achieved that.
The five tries to four win was earned as the Blues managed to bounce back after each Waratah's scoring movement, with some quite extraordinary defence led by Jerome Kaino, Steven Luatua and Patrick Tuipulotu - who also featured with some telling runs.
"That is the thing we have been working hard on - closing out those sorts of moments," Umaga said.
"We've learned to hang tough because in the past we have let those times go.
"It was great to see we didn't lose the will to play. Our game is our game and the guys are now able to back it no matter what.
"We just need to get more accurate about when to play it but some of the skills we possess makes for entertaining rugby.
"I was really pleased with that effort tonight. We have not lost to an Australian side and only lost to the Lions in terms of the foreign sides.
"I think we have now laid a really pleasing platform on which to build going forward.
"I am delighted and proud of the effort put in across the board by the guys and by my coaches and staff. It is really heartening and quite exciting looking forward."