'We'll take any win!' Tana Umaga delighted with Blues' Super Rugby pre-season form

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NZN

Winning a pre-season tournament is no pointer to Super Rugby success but Blues coach Tana Umaga is delighted at a couple of attributes highlighted in Brisbane.

Umaga's men scored a last-gasp try through George Moala to beat the Hurricanes 10-7 in the final of the Brisbane Global Tens, providing a shiny start to 2018 for the under-performing Kiwi side.

New Zealand's worst-placed team for the last four Super Rugby seasons, the three-time champion Blues are staring at another major challenge to make the play-offs for the first time since 2011.

They've started on the right note, with Umaga pleased at how a young, largely second-string outfit gelled in the heat of Brisbane.

"We'll take any win at the minute, very happy with that, especially with the group we have over here," Umaga said.

"Some guys have been with us for two months, some two weeks, but they showed some real resilience and real fortitude to combine."

Duffie said while the strategies used in Brisbane probably won't help this season, the vibe the winning start has generated will.
Source: Breakfast

Umaga said the unavailability of his All Blacks and a series of injuries had forced him to call an additional 21 players in at various stages of the off-season, on top of his contracted squad of 38.

The Tens performances unveiled not only a crop of talented youngsters - headed by classy outside back Caleb Clarke - but the sort of attitude and togetherness Umaga will be demanding all season.

"Obviously for us the result is great but some of the off-field stuff and the ability to follow through and win those critical moments for us, and amongst the leadership we had, was really pleasing for us," he said.

"I take my hat off to our players the way they really made an effort to get to know each other and build something. I'm just so proud of the way they stood up to it.

"We got some confidence out of it. We understand there are no points awarded in the pre-season and we still need to work on some things and integrate the All Blacks back."

The Blues' final pre-season match is against the Hurricanes in Mahurangi, north of Auckland, on Thursday.

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