Blues still searching to find themselves

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Lynn McConnell     03 Mar 2018     Getty Images

Once again, coach Tana Umaga was left lamenting an effort that was below par, not representative of the ability in his side and where chances had not been taken. It is a theme that has been regularly repeated for a team still searching for itself just as it had been for previous coaches Sir John Kirwan, Pat Lam and David Nucifora in recent years.

Umaga acknowledged the Chiefs for securing the win, especially after all the injury problems they had been through.

Being down on experience the Chiefs were vulnerable to the Blues who should have won the game and who created enough opportunities to get the win.

"We just didn't take it and that's something we need to look at," he said.

That was typified in the last play of the game when they got into position to steal a chance to possibly win the game from a lineout deep in the Chiefs' 22m area but they hadn't taken it.

The Blues hadn't been able to get consistency in their phase play, and that inability meant that every time they scored the Chiefs would immediately respond.

They were unable to get out of their own half, the Chiefs created pressure and the Blues allowed them to score and stay in the game.

"You've got to take your hats off to the Chiefs, they were tenacious at the breakdown and what they were trying to achieve. Even to the last minute, at the 11th hour, they still got injuries," he said.

For the Blues it was a case of getting back on the horse to undertake their two-game tour of South Africa.

"We don't want to run away from things – we've got to go to South Africa and play two very good teams [the Lions and Stormers] so it doesn't get any easier for us," he said.

"We've got to find what it really means for us to play this game as the Blues and that's something that we've been working hard on. You saw bits of it last week, you saw bits of it in the first and second half, again we've just got to put it together," he said.

There were some positives in the game and they needed to keep riding those but ultimately the players needed to put their hands up.

"As you saw there today there were a lot of Chiefs players who put their hands up who weren't even part of their squad who have come through and we need to do that as well," he said.

Saturday would be crucial to learn if captain and halfback Augustine Pulu would be able to make the tour after he hobbled off the ground late in the game.

Their development side also have a Saturday game and some of them may be playing for places on the tour.