Blues' inner belief shone through in Sydney: Umaga

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Blues coach Tana Umaga says an internal faith helped them get over the Waratahs on Saturday night.

The Blues were under pressure throughout the second half against the Waratahs, but held out the home side to take their third win of the season.

Umaga said the key to the win was a bit of grit and an ability to ignore the growing criticism of the side, which has failed to beat any of its fellow Kiwi sides since February 2016.

“We don't take much notice of what people say, it's just how we feel about ourselves and we just keep working away as much as we can and we leave it to other people that think they know,” he said.

Skipper Augustine Pulu echoed his coach’s view, after the tight win.

“We always talk about the inner belief in our circle and that's all that matters,” he said.

“Everyone's got their own thoughts, their own thinking of all that kind of stuff and we just have to stay focused, stay tight in our circle because we're the only ones that can change it.”

Umaga said the return of trio Jerome Kaino, Patrick Tuipulotu and Pulu to the starting side was a major boost for the side, in part for the extra work they put in getting to that point.

“When a team's battling, especially, you've got to rely on your experienced players and it's hard when all your experienced players have been having a bit of a rest,” he said.

“It's been tough on them because they're frustrated and the positive thing for us is they've worked their butts off to get back early for a lot of them, earlier than they should and you could just see how much it meant, especially in those tough moments.”

The Blues’ win continued a 38-match run of trans-Tasman Super Rugby wins for New Zealand teams but Umaga wasn’t keen to philosophise on the state of Australian rugby.

“One, I don't read anything and two, I'm just focused on the Blues,” he said.

“We've got a few issues of our own that we need to get right but I don't really have an opinion on that.”

The Blues head back to New Zealand, to take on the Hurricanes next weekend.