Blues counting the cost of loss


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The Blues suffered their second defeat in a row on Saturday when they met the Force at North Harbour Stadium in front of 13,200 fans.

The Blues crashed to a 17-27 home defeat but adding insult to inury they may lose playmaker Nick Evans for an extended period of time.

Evans suffered a head knock and left the field after 30 minutes, prompting a complete backline reshuffle and it brought with it a change of fortunes.

Ccentre Isaia Toeava was moved to first five eighth, Tuitavake to centre, Rudi Wulf went on to right wing, and not long into the second spell Joe Rokocoko also left the field with a hand injury.

The Blues seemed to be a little lacklustre bringing into question whether coach David Nucifora had made the right decision in keeping changes to a minimum straight after the trip back from South Africa.

The second half was all the Force as the Blues tired and the Force scored 20 unanswered points and in doing so recorded their first win in New Zealand in their third season in the Super 14.

Coach Nucifora and captain Troy Flavell were obviously very disappointed after the game – and know the fired up Stormers have made it known they fancy winning at Eden Park next round on Easter Saturday.

‘Obviously it is a pretty devestated dressing room. We’re pretty shattered by the loss and is a game that I feel we lost more so in the first half than the second half to be honest,” Nucifora said on the Blues website.

“The longer we let them hang with us in the first half, their confidence grew, and we let some old habits creep back in as far as not nailing opportunities.

‘We created more than enough opportunities in that first half to win three games of football and yet we didn’t take them.

“I felt if we had taken them we would have been able to move forward and control the game, but the longer they hung in there the stronger they got. They finished very well, took the opportunities they got, and deserved their win.’

Nucifora also admitted that they may have inadvertently taken the Force lightly.

‘I didn’t see a lack of composure in the first half, compared with last week’s effort, but today we could have even under-estimated their ability by the way we were not ruthless enough to nail the opportunities that we created.

‘We need to pay them more respect and you do that by making sure that when you create something, you convert it into points. So I am very disappointed in that part of our game.’

Flavell sais that he felt the game slipping away from the Blues early in the second half .

‘To be honest, probably just after half time some of those bad habits that Naci touched on crept in again.

“At this level you can not afford to lose control of the ball like we did and they capitalised on that.’

The Blues face the Stormers next week and it will be a worrying time while they wait for news on Nick Evans and Joe Rokocoko.


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