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Better effort but still no win for the Blues

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Sunday, April 8, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Coach Tana Umaga was much happier with the better defensive effort of the side and their improved attitude.

The team's situation was not helped with the injury roundabout the team was experiencing, he said, with centre George Moala forced from the field after a hyperextension of his arm.

But one piece of good news was the return of flanker Kara Pryor who made a significant difference to the defensive effort. And there were more players due to come back, he said.

The play which led to the penalty try which decided the outcome, when the Blues were restricted to seven forwards in the scrum and pushed back by the Chiefs, was a decision made on the field and the players had to be trusted to make those choices.

It was a question of whether an extra player would have made any difference given the way the Chiefs scrum was dominating, so it was a tough call whichever way it was made.

Umaga was happy also with the way the halves were developing. First five-eighths Stephen Perofeta was growing, and had handled the forced transfer to fullback, as a result of Moala's injury, well while Bryn Gatland was also developing, and their progress was part of the side's equation.

They needed to get experience and it was tough that it had to be while the side wasn't getting the wins on the board, but it was something they had to go through.

It was a case of the Blues taking their licks, learning from them and bouncing back, Umaga said.

"We don't think it's too far away. There's little things we can improve on every week and the adjustment for us is that we don't forget about the good things we're doing," he said.

They had tried to find ways not to give the Chiefs easy ball, but they had still found ways to break the Blues' line, however their defence had helped out in containing the outbreaks.

Wing Matt Duffie said while the effort was an improvement they were still hurting because they had put in a bit effort to get the win.

"There's no lack of belief in our group, we all want to play for each other and it showed in our performance tonight. It would have been easy for us to just roll over and accept that but the boys have a lot of heart and it showed.

"We're hurting, but there are some positives there," he said.