Hall puts it down to a team effort by the Blues

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Monday, March 31, 2014    Getty Images

Flanker Jerome Kaino, who was also making his first start in his reincarnation with the Blues, had been outstanding, Hall said from his close-quarter view of the former All Black.

"He really brought a physical aspect to our defence and there were a lot of other guys who played well. I was just lucky," he said.

The effort was matched by the best showing from the Blues pack this year and Hall said that had been on the agenda all week knowing the Highlanders would come at them hard up front.

"Traditonally they are a strong forward pack and they pride themselves on disrupting our ball but I think Jerome and Braidy [Luke Braid] and the whole forward pack barred up after a bit of pressure in the media and I thought they were outstanding," he said.

That effort gave Hall the time and room to demonstrate his own skills and the zest he brought to the game helped the Blues get a better start and show more competitive signs from the outset.

"I just tried to lift the tempo. We had talked about it during the week and the aim was to try and get the Highlanders on the back foot so I guess those quick taps and trying to take it from the back of the lineout was the things I tried to do," he said.

Hall said it had been discussed that he might launch from penalty situations, but one had been from within his own half so he wondered if he might get some flak for that but it had worked out all right in the end.

"They had a pretty good and mobile forward pack so we tried to get them rolling backwards and as much as we could get them running around and fatigued it ws only going to open it up for guys like Ma'a [Nonu] and Charlie [Piutau]."

It had been a nervous day leading up to the game for Hall, the first time he had the experience of waiting so long to play such a big game.

"You've got a long time to think about it but I just tried to keep my mind off the game. I went to my brother's game and did some other things but when I got out there it was a pretty awesome experience.

"And it was great to play against Aaron Smith. I just tried to get a bit of niggle in there and to take him off his game. Hopefully I did that and hopefully my performance wasn't too bad and I can get a bit better," he said.