Embarrassed Umaga tries to keep the faith

Mon, 02 Apr 2018 19:54

REACTION: Blues coach Tana Umaga put on a brave face as he searched for something positive to say about his under-performing side, following their 40-63 loss to the Sharks.

Through five matches, the side have scored 153 points, just eight fewer than the pace-setting Hurricanes.

However, they've conceded 203 and have the second-worst points differential in the competition, with their -50 better only than the Sunwolves on -108.

"You can say the effort was there," Umaga offered as an explanation, after the Blues slumped to their fourth loss in five matches.

"Scoring 40 is good.

"But leaking 60 is not.

"It's not just a system thing, it's an individual thing.

"We know we can score points, it's how we stop them.

We've got to make sure we're really good at that and really focus on that," Umaga said after the match.

"Errors, discipline, letting them off when we've put pressure on them, and letting them get into spots that make it difficult for us," he said.

"Obviously it's an embarrassing one for us.

"We've got to get it right, but it's within us. I have total faith in that."

The Blues have fallen to a 1-4 record through their first five matches of 2018 and while they still have 11 to play, their campaign is hanging by a fraying thread.

The Blues travel to neighbouring Hamilton on Saturday to face the Chiefs for the second time in six weeks, having lost the first encounter 27-21.

Blues captain James Parsons said the side were "extremely confident" heading into the match against the Sharks, which made the loss even more frustrating.

The Blues leaked points early to the Sharks and trailed 7-26 at the break. It was the third time in as many weeks and fourth time in five games that the Blues had allowed their opponents to score more than 20 points in the opening 40 minutes.

Parsons said that kind of start just wasn't good enough in such a tough competition.

"We can't give teams that much of a headstart. We've got to find that 80-minute performance.

"Our systems don't need to change, we just need to execute them better.

"I sound like a broken record and I won't apologise for it because at the end of the day, that's all we've got to do."

Sources: AFP & nzherald.co.nz

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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