Still lots to be taken from ITM opening match

Steamers captain Culum Retallick is not pushing any panic buttons after his team opened their 2014 ITM Championship campaign with a 34-23 loss to Southland in Invercargill on Friday night.

Retallick got through half a game in his comeback from a debilitating knee injury that kept him out of the entire Super 15 competition with the Blues.

He felt it was a game they could have won.

In the end too many mistakes and a tough call that cancelled out a likely try to winger Tino Nemani had proved decisive.


"Our defence was not too bad but I think we have to do some work on our kick-chase," Retallick said. "Our scrum was solid but our lineout probably let us down a wee bit in the first half there. I thought our general play and physicality was really good.

"But the two things that probably let us down as a team were pushing a few passes and we played too much footy around halfway. We didn't play enough territory. We should have played our systems around the halfway, realised we weren't getting anywhere, and then kicked it down and chased to get some field position.

"We didn't do that and turned the ball over and really got caught out. We were guilty sometimes that when we took the ball up wide, we didn't look after it. We took it into contact and lost it straight away, and you can't build any pressure off that."

The call to not award a try to Steamers' winger Nemani after he was deemed to have been held in a tackle, before he jumped up to force the ball over the line, was a critical moment in the first half.

Retallick says it was a harsh call and changed the momentum of the game.

"I think Tino scored that try. He released the ball and I am not sure why the referee didn't go upstairs. If we had scored then it would have changed the swing of the game."

Retallick says they will review what went on this week, so they can ensure they do not repeat the same errors in Sunday's home game against Tasman at ASB Baypark.