Blues look to build for Tokyo redemption

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Coach Tana Umaga said the circumstances were different, the temperature wouldn't be 40 degrees and they were aware the Sunwolves would be targeting the game as their chance to get a win to lift themselves off the bottom of the points table.


"Anything less than our effort that we put in last week [against the Chiefs] and improvements in the areas we have been trying to improve on will not get us the result we want so we're under no illusions around what we need to do – both attitude-wise and performance-wise," he said.

The Sunwolves were not a side that could be taken lightly as they had shown this year and with their clever coaching group they would be looking at ways to change things up against the Blues.

"We can't take anything for granted, the way they play one week doesn't necessarily mean they will perform the same the next week," he said.

The Sunwolves worked hard to play to their specific strengths and looked to mount a lot of pressure all over the field.

"They will be relentless at the breakdown both on attack and defence. We were better at that area this weekend just gone so we've set the standard there and our expectations are that we just keep improving," he said.

However, their injury woes continue to make life less than easy with centre George Moala and flanker Jerome Kaino both out with injuries sustained against the Chiefs. They were also struggling with the depth of their resources in the outside backs and Umaga said they were trawling the country for outside backs.

Jordan Hyland was likely to feature again having been injury cover in the past and also playing for the side at the Brisbane Tens.

There was consideration to returning Rieko Ioane to the wing or leaving him in the midfield where his presence was significant. Umaga said he felt inside Ioane could have more influence, more often, closer to the ball.

Any consideration of whether first five-eighths Stephen Perofeta should move to fullback, as happened when Moala's injury in Hamilton forced a rejig of the backline, with fullback Michael Collins moving to the wing, had to be tempered with where the players concerned felt most comfortable.

"Those things are all up for grabs at the moment because we've got to think what's the best fit and how that's going to work," he said.

While Perofeta handled the change it wasn't second nature to him and they were trying to get him to learn his role at first five-eighths and it was a case of whether they were trying to get him to learn two jobs or just one, he said.

The Blues had absorbed the lessons from their Chiefs' performance and it was important that through their frustrations on the points table that they kept true to the way they wanted to play.

"We missed a few opportunities to play a bit more and again, we had some key moments in that game where penalties and things cost us," he said.