Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Tana Umaga: 'There's some distraught players around'

Blues' Tanerau Latimer is injured during the Super Rugby match between the Golden Lions and the Auckland Blues. Photo / Getty Images.
Blues' Tanerau Latimer is injured during the Super Rugby match between the Golden Lions and the Auckland Blues. Photo / Getty Images.

Blues coach Tana Umaga says his team are 'distraught' after their 43-5 meltdown against the Lions in Johannesburg this morning.

His side hardly fired a shot in conceding seven tries to their one in pouring rain at Ellis Park. The Lions scored three tries in the first 10 minutes - with centre Lionel Mapoe scoring a second-half hat-trick.

It was a bumbling, and at times embarrassing, performance from the visitors, and while they are understandably upset at the way they played, Umaga suggested afterwards that there could be casualties.

The Blues play the Force in Perth next weekend, a match which Umaga's team are good enough to win, but it remains to be seen who will make the starting line-up after this latest disappointment.

"It's a bit early to make those decisions," Umaga said. "I like some time to sleep on it and have a think and do what's best for the group [but] something has to happen after a performance like that."

Asked to give a summary of what went wrong, Umaga replied: "Everything. We weren't able to get into our game and that started from the kick-off when we couldn't get that ...

All of a sudden we were 19 points behind and trying to play chasing rugby in this kind of weather which is probably not a good thing. It just didn't get any better and there's not too much to be positive about, to be honest, in terms of the performance.

"Obviously there are some pretty distraught players around, along with the management."
The Blues' fading playoffs hopes were lifted when they beat the Kings in Port Elizabeth last weekend, but they are all but done now.

Asked about his hopes for making the finals, he said: "For us it's always been about getting a bit of respect back for the Blues and trying week to week to get better. We thought we were heading on a pretty good tangent - not a steep one - but we were steadily improving. This one kind of puts us back a bit but we've got to make sure we don't drop our lip and go back to square one."

They were sentiments repeated by skipper James Parsons, who watched stony faced from the bench as replacement flanker Kara Pryor scored a consolation try for his team with seven minutes remaining.

"That was a big blow, not only individually, but as a group," Parsons said of the defeat.

"We had set a few goals about restoring a bit of pride back in the jersey and we had made some good steps forward in that area, but tonight was probably a step back.

"I can tell you that there are 27 guys here that a pretty eager to right the wrongs from tonight against the Force."

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Stats provided by

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 01 Oct 2016 01:12:15 Processing Time: 621ms