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Boyd faces tough choices, Umaga wary of injuries

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Lynn McConnell     16 Feb 2018     Getty Images

Having taken his complete squad to Warkworth for the game, Boyd said it would be a lengthy selection meeting deciding who was going to make the cut to head to South Africa on Saturday.

"Some of the contenders really put their hand up which was great to see," he said.

There was a bonus for the side with the efforts of long-term injury players Matt Proctor, Blade Thompson and Michael Fatialofa.

Boyd said it would have been nice to have one more warm-up game. Physically they were ready but cohesion-wise he felt they were still probably one week away.

He wasn't concerned with some untidiness at lineouts. They hadn't used any of the variations they would be taking to South Africa.

"We're showing a few pictures that might be different to what we'll run out against the Bulls," he said.

While the choice of first five-eighths to start against the Bulls would be between Ihaia West and Jackson Garden-Bachop, Boyd said he had always had a lot of time for West having watched him emerge through lower grades.

"I think with some optimistic support around him I'm picking that Ihaia is going to do a good job for us this year," he said.

Success among the New Zealand franchises, who all had outstanding teams on paper, would come down to the side which best looks after its players 16-25 and manages them who would come through in the end.

"We're pretty comfortable that all the guys in that space on our roster are all good cattle," he said.

Blues coach Tana Umaga was left wary of the on-going injuries his team has suffered ahead of the competition with loose forwards Jimmy Tupou, Jerome Kaino and Dalton Papali'i all leaving the field during the game.

In order to avoid more injuries they brought Murphy Taramai and Akira Ioane off as precautions because they were now 'a bit thin' in the loose forwards.

"Who'd want to be a loose forward right now?" he said.

"In terms of the willingness the want was there again we were always, with our short turnaround coming back from Brisbane, trying to put a team together here, there were a few mistakes but again we think we can rectify those leading into the first game.

"It was great, credit to the Hurricanes. They came in here and obviously wanted a good hit out and they gave it to us so there were some lessons in there for us," he said.

Umaga was confident the side was ready for its opener against the Highlanders next week and the main concern had been reading the returning All Blacks and how they were shaping and integrating.

They were in good shape but running wasn't the same as taking hits and having to get down and up in match situations.

They had given away some silly penalties which was a reminder of the need to stick to what the group knows they are trying to achieve.

Umaga was pleased with the class Rieko Ioane showed in scoring his try but said while it was to have that asset it wasn't something the side should be relying on. He was pleased with the defensive effort, where Sonny Bill Williams had a big first half, and also the way the side was able to work its way out of its own half.

UPDATE: The Hurricanes squad for South Africa and Argentina has been named:

Forwards; Toby Smith, Chris Eves, Ben May, Fraser Armstrong, Alex Fidow, Ricky Riccitelli, James O'Rielly, Sam Lousi, Murray Douglas, Michael Fatialofa, Vaea Fifita, Brad Shields (c), Ardie Savea, Gareth Evans, Blade Thomson; Backs, TJ Perenara, Jamie Booth, Beauden Barrett, Ihaia West, Ngani Laumape, Matt Proctor, Vince Aso, Wes Goosen, Julian Savea, Ben Lam, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Jonah Lowe.