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Hurricanes setting the pace - Umaga

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Friday, May 11, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

He felt they produced as good a performance as he has seen from them in containing a spirited, but deficient, Blues team.

"They lifted, as they do, in these derbies. Everyone lifts their game. I thought we lifted defensively in our intensity. Yet, they don't fluster very much and they're very clinical and patient around what they are trying to achieve," Umaga said.

"They've got a guy there [Beauden Barrett] who's running them pretty well and got them on a string at the moment and everyone is just doing their job and just enjoying what they're doing and playing with good confidence," he said.

But, ultimately, more disappointment was Umaga's lot.

"We were in the game for a long stretch of the game and when you get into key positions on attack you need to look after your own ball and I just think that's where we went wrong," he said.

There was a familiar ring to his assessment of his side's failure: they couldn't secure their own ball, ill discipline and letting the Hurricanes off the hook, a team who didn't allow many chances for that to happen.

"The ones you do get you've got to execute and we just weren't able to do that today.

"When a team comes off an eight-win streak they've obviously got things pretty down pat and are clinical. In certain aspects we were clinical.

"I think defensively the system we put in place to try and cut down their key men in their space and time worked really well yet we didn't take the opportunities that afforded us and we were defending for longer moments," he said.

There were Blues players who stood up and who showed they were worthy of consideration for higher play.

It had also been unsettling to have a change of referee at halftime, due to South African Jaco Peyper suffering the effects of an insect bite when he was in Australia last week. But Umaga said they had played under replacement Paul Williams so his rulings should not have been a surprise.

Sonny Bill Williams had made an impact at second five-eighths in returning from injury with his off-loading obvious in centre Orbyn Leger's try, but the Hurricanes had been effective for much of the night in denying the Blues the benefit of this attacking option.