AUDIO: Umaga's Blues 'stood up' to Lions challenge

Sun, 11 Mar 2018 08:52

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

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Fri, 23 March 2018
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Connacht v Edinburgh 19h35 Sportsground
Dragons v Cheetahs 19h35 Rodney Parade
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 19h35 Scotstoun
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Kings v Treviso 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 15h15 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h30 Thomond Park
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Ospreys v Leinster 19h35 Liberty Stadium
Jaguares v Lions 19h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 25 March 2018
Leicester Tigers v Wasps 15h00 Welford Road
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 4 3 0 1 15
Waratahs 4 2 1 1 10
Reds 3 2 0 1 8
Brumbies 4 2 0 2 8
Sunwolves 4 0 0 4 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Highlanders 3 3 0 0 13
Hurricanes 3 2 0 1 10
Crusaders 4 2 0 2 10
Chiefs 3 2 0 1 8
Blues 4 1 0 3 6
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Stormers 5 2 0 3 9
Sharks 4 1 1 4 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Jaguares 4 1 0 3 4