Rugby: Blues need to 'stay in the fight' - Kirwan

By Campbell Burnes

Blue coach Sir John Kirwan. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Blue coach Sir John Kirwan. Photo / Jason Oxenham

No team likes to have their pride in the jersey questioned, so expect a response from the Blues this Friday, after coach John Kirwan wondered aloud today about this intangible aspect of his team.

He wasn't questioning their effort as much as "staying in the fight" - which they patently failed to do after surrendering a 17-13 halftime lead to fall to a heavy 39-20 reverse against the Hurricanes on Friday night.

"At critical moments of the game we just didn't take our opportunities. We just need to work harder and stay in the fight... It was a disappointing loss. We need to show a lot more pride in the jersey and we've been doing that the last 18 months, losing games but fighting hard.

"The Canes just wanted it a bit more than us," said Kirwan, of the shambolic second spell in the capital where the home side hammered them at the breakdown, which left Benji Marshall, in his first extended run in the pivot role, looking lost.

Kirwan said his players knew, and know, what the game plan is, though that was not apparent for much of the time.

"We all know what we're doing. We just have to implement it under pressure. So our (No) 10 issue is a problem, but it's about implementing what we've talked about in our game plan for 80 minutes."

The Blues are back at home this Friday, where they are a considerably tougher nut to crack, to face the NSW Waratahs.

- APNZ

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