AUDIO: Umaga's Blues 'stood up' to Lions challenge
SUPER RUGBY REACTION: Blues head coach Tana Umaga was full of praise for his team's fighting spirit which saw them register their first victory of the season against the Lions at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The Blues trailed the Lions 3-21 towards the end of the first half. However, the Auckland based team stormed back in the second half to win the game 38-35 courtesy of a try in the 79th minute to replacement loose forward Murphy Taramai which was converted by flyhalf Stephen Perofeta.
The win was the Blues first victory over the Lions since 2012 and one which Umaga rates as one of the greatest victories he has been involved in as head coach of the Blues.
"It [victory over the Lions] has to rate right up there," Umaga told reporters after the game.
Umage added: "The way we ground that [win] out was probably something that we’ve been working on really hard and also our belief and confidence to just keep playing. I was very happy with the way the boys and the leaders within the group stood up. They didn’t want to back down they knew that they just wanted to stay in it."
The Blues have been on the receiving end of many last minute tries which resulted in a defeat for them in the past and they lost their opening two games of this season's Super Rugby campaign by small margins - 34-41 against the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin at the end of February, which was followed by a 21-27 defeat against the Chiefs at Eden Park Stadium in Auckland at the beginning of March.
Umaga was relieved that the Blues were finally able to be on the receiving end of a winning try in the final minute of the game.
The Blues next travel to Cape Town where they will do battle with the Stormers' in a Super Rugby Round Five clash on Saturday and Umaga added that his team will take plenty of confidence from the victory over the Lions.
However, he also pointed out that his team will have to show consistency in their performance when they play the Stormers.
"We know having one win doesn't necessarily make the season. In saying that it's confidence building for us, so going forward there are some really good things to come out of this.
"We know we've got to get back on track in Cape Town and do it again," commented Umaga.
By Josh Isaacson