Painful lessons for wayward Blues to absorb

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Saturday, March 31, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Beaten 63-40, they shared the try-scoring at six each, but against a goal-kicking machine in Robert du Preez, who totalled 38 points, seven of them from penalty goals, the Blues were punished for indiscipline, much of it well within their own half.

Umaga said in the wake of the loss which has left them second to last on the points table, "We know we can score points, it's how we stop them. We've got to make sure we're very good at that and really focus on that this week," he said.

Umaga said the management had selected their side for the Sharks in a bid to get urgency from the Blues.

"I think we had plenty of will and want to do what we wanted to do yet we've still got to learn to be patient in what we do," he said.

They couldn't give away such a lead to sides and then expect to get back in and chop them down later on.

"We can do it [but] it just makes it hard for us. The execution of our game plan wasn't the best as well, our wayward kicking. Again, we don't help ourselves in that respect. Our game understanding, our game awareness around that is still a big work-on for us," he said.

Scoring 40 points had been good but leaking 60 was not. Errors, discipline, or lack of it, letting pressure off after it had been applied were all part of the picture that had become increasingly complex.

"When to play, when not to play, where to play from, again, it is an understanding of the game," he said.

"If we've lost momentum how do we shift it, where do we put it in terms of the ball and turning that around. That's got to come with a little bit of time but as you can see we don't have a lot of it. We've got to make those shifts early."

There were still 11 rounds to get through and while the loss was an embarrassing one for the Blues there were lessons to be taken from it. The preparation had been good and the effort had been there but it was just the polish on the effort.

"We've got to get it right, it's within us, there's no doubt about it, I've total faith in that," he said.

Having achieved the comeback he had mentioned to claim the lead with three tries while the Sharks were reduced to 14 men due to a yellow card, the Blues had failed to ram home the advantage because of errors, and going away from what had been working for them.

It was at that stage the errors, lack of game management and feeling the momentum of the game compounded.

Umaga said he felt he got value out of Rieko Ioane at second five-eighths.

"You saw a lot more of his skill set today. He's got a very good passing game, he's a very good communicator for us and he gives confidence for those around him and for us just having him out on the wing he's shown, but when he's closer to the ball he does a lot of good things for us," he said.