Blues

Nucifora happy with just taking the points

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The Blues snuck home against the Stormers at Eden Park when Ben Atiga kicked a penalty in the last minute of the match securing the Blues four points and ended their two match losing streak.


Blues coach David Nucifora is claiming the win for all it is worth saying that the match was tougher than it looked.


“We had some struggles to be able to win the game with some of the changes we had to make during the week, so it wasn’t a pretty game.


“It’s the sort of game that we will just bank the points and move on to next week,” says Nucifora on Sportal.


The Blues were hit hard ahead of the match when playmaker Nick Evans was ruled out. A lot of coaches use injuries as a ploy to deceive their opposition but Nucifora said that Evans was always going to play.


“We didn’t know Nick wasn’t going to play until the last minute.


“He actually passed his psychometric testing and then we put him through some pretty substantial physical tests as well and it was the day after the fitness test that he didn’t pull up.


“With head knocks you don’t want to take those risks and he’ll be fine for next week now,” said Nucifora.


Evans’ kicking replacement was centre Ben Atiga had a bit of an off day with the boot but he kicked the one that mattered after missing a similar kick just minutes earlier.


Atiga said that he knew the pressure was on him to take his team to the lead with his final kick.


“Yeah I knew straight away and I just went through the normal procedures that I have to do and I knew what I did wrong the previous kick so I was pretty confident going into that last kick,” he said.


Atiga said that he realises the importance of being able to kick and thankfully for the Blues he has been practicing that aspect of his game.


“It’s something that I really need to focus on as well now just to add another repertoire,” he said.


For the losing side the Stormers it was tough to lose in the last minute after winning the second half on points. Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus said the result was a hard loss and that it could have easily swung either way.


“I think it was a brave performance, it was gutsy but not good enough.


“It is always tough to lose a game. We are not happy about it but we accept the result,” said Erasmus.


Erasmus said that the 18,500 people in the crowd were enough to sway the referee’s decision on some occasions.


“I think when you ref in front of big crowd the 50/50 calls go to the big crowds and we accept this.


“I’m saying that because we’ve got six home games to come. In two weeks time we’re playing at home and hopefully we will get lucky with those calls as well,” he said.


Erasmus added that the match against the Blues was one of the hardest to prepare for.


“The tough thing to coach against a team like the Blues is that there aren’t specific guys you can mark.


“You can go though the whole team of 22 and there aren’t three that aren’t special with ball in hand.


“There aren’t many guys who guys who can’t make something out of nothing in the Blues, and that happened tonight,” said Erasmus.


The Blues face the Bulls next week and the Stormers go to Perth to play the Force.

 

Super14.com

 

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