Blues have sound platform for 2017

Fri, 15 Jul 2016 15:22

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."

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Fri, 30 September 2016
Golden Lions v Sharks 15h00 Johannesburg
EP Kings v Pumas 16h00 Nelspruit
Western Province v Boland 17h10 Cape Town
Dragons v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Rodney Parade
Connacht v Edinburgh 18h35 Sportsground
Bristol v Saracens 18h45 Ashton Gate
Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs 18h45 Franklin's Gardens
Sat, 01 October 2016
Free State Cheetahs v Griquas 12h00 Bloemfontein
Sale Sharks v Leicester Tigers 13h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
South Africa v Australia 15h05 Loftus Versfeld
Munster v Zebre 16h00 Thomond Park
Ulster v Ospreys 17h30 Kingspan Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Leinster 18h35 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Cardiff Blues v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Stadio Monigo
Sun, 02 October 2016
Argentina v New Zealand 22h10 Ascoli Piceno
Wasps v Harlequins 13h30 Ricoh Arena
Worcester Warriors v Newcastle Falcons 14h00 Sixways
Tue, 04 October 2016
Edinburgh v Ulster 19h35 BT Murrayfield
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9