Pat Lam says he is happy with the effort from his team in the defeat to the Highlanders which left the Blues on the bottom of the Super Rugby table.
The Highlanders won 30-27 in Dunedin on Friday night but the Blues were perhaps unlucky to come out on the wrong side of the ledger. It was their seventh loss of the season, their sole victory coming in the upset over the Bulls in Pretoria in round three.
"It was another close one which we could have taken,'' coach Lam said yesterday. "It's tough, there were some tough calls and also some decisions that we made that probably weren't quite right on the field as well. But all in all I can't fault the effort. We're close but not close enough as they say.''
A major call which went against his side was the try awarded to replacement Kurt Baker, despite the Highlanders fullback illegally pushing Rene Ranger in the back before diving on the ball.
To add insult to injury, referee Bryce Laurence asked his sideline assistant about a possible push in the lead-up to the try.
"Credit to Bryce, he asked the touch judge and he said 'no, I didn't see it'. It's similar to last week as well [defeat to Sharks]. Back to back games with crucial tries that were given that maybe weren't right but we've got to live with that and it's tough. I feel for the guys because they were crucial moments in the game. We can't buy a trick at the moment but we've just got to keep working.''
Lam said the Blues had focused on their defence and set pieces, and he was proud of the way his side shut down Highlanders halfback Aaron Smith.
He hinted Piri Weepu could start at halfback against the Reds, who are also struggling, at Eden Park on Friday night. Weepu has been unable to make the starting XV for the past two matches, with Alby Mathewson preferred, but that could change.
"It's about Piri putting the pressure on him [Mathewson] and he applied a bit on the weekend so that comes into the selection mix this week.''
Fullback Rudi Wulf was due to have a scan on his injured shoulder yesterday and Lam was hopeful of having him back for Friday night.
- APNZBy Patrick McKendry Email Patrick