The Blues coaches have described the team‘s performance during their defeat to the Stormers this morning as “unacceptable”.
Head coach Tana Umaga admitted the Blues lacked urgency throughout the 37-20 defeat at Newlands, which came a week after their remarkable come-from-behind victory over the Lions in Johannesburg.
But as the expectation levels rose, the Blues‘ performance dropped, and forwards coach Steve Jackson was more damning in his description of it.
Advertisement Stormers celebrate after scoring a try during the Super Rugby match between DHL Stormers and Blues at DHL Newlands on March 17, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. Photo / Getty. facebook twitter email linkedin google-plus whatsapp pinterest reddit
“People need to have a look at themselves,” Jackson told Radio Sport. “It‘s unacceptable to go out there and put in a performance that we‘re not happy with and neither are our families and friends back home.
“The guys are hurting, there‘s no doubt, but we keep on saying that too often. The long flight home might do some of our guys some good and some of our management good too.
“It‘s unacceptable and we won‘t stand for that too much more.”
The Stormers had looked vulnerable given their recent long-haul flight home to Cape Town from Downunder where they had lost all three of their matches. They were hit by injury and illness and hardly trained this week but were by far the more committed side.
They tore into the Blues with a ferocity the visitors couldn‘t handle and quickly went to a 24-3 lead.
The Blues rallied a little in the second half, scoring tries through Akira Ioane, Rieko Ioane and Michael Collins, but the points they leaked meant there was little hope of repeating last weekend‘s dramatics at Ellis Park.
Sonny Bill Williams of the Blues in action during the Super Rugby match between DHL Stormers and Blues at DHL Newlands on March 17, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. Photo / Getty Images. facebook twitter email linkedin google-plus whatsapp pinterest reddit
Jackson added: “We thought the guys were ready to go but we didn‘t fire a shot in the first 20 minutes.
“We didn‘t turn up – attack, defence, most facets of the game – we lacked urgency and attitude.”
Umaga said: “We lacked urgency in a lot of facets of our game. We made a lot of errors, obviously. We talked about executing and stopping giving teams such a head start. We didn‘t do that. Our kick chase wasn‘t good, they were able to break us. That‘s the urgency I was talking about. It‘s something we need to get right.
“We knew they had their backs against the wall coming back from three losses on the trot. They wanted to make an impression. We‘ve been there ourselves. We‘d talked about that and it wasn‘t as if we didn‘t know it was coming.”
The Blues‘ only injury concern is midfielder Sonny Bill Williams who had an X-ray on a hand injury.
It had appeared the Blues had turned a corner at Ellis Park, but instead it led to a cul-de-sac. Back to the bottom of the New Zealand conference, they have a bye next weekend before hosting the Sharks at Eden Park and there remains plenty to work on.
“It‘s pretty obvious we‘re not happy with where we at,” Umaga said. “We‘ve been in all games right to the end. We just can‘t give teams head starts and think it‘s going to be easy for us. We have to have composure and control that and not give teams easy points.”
Stormers 37 (EW Viljoen 2, Raymond Rhule, Dewaldt Duvenage tries; Damian Willemse 4 cons, 3 pens)
Blues 20 (Akira Ioane, Michael Collins, Rieko Ioane tries; Stephen Perofeta con, Bryn Gatland pen)