Hurricanes will test Blues' resolve

Getty Images

Lynn McConnell     10 May 2018     Getty Images

The visitors are firm favourites to continue their run of success overNew Zealand teams this year and Blues coach Tana Umaga said having that goal was easier said than done against a team that was high on confidence, playing well and with key strike players in top form.

"It's a different proposition to what we had last week and, yes, we take confidence out of what we did last week but we know we can't just rely on that. We've got to go out and play our game and having these experienced players back will help us but it's the whole 23 going out there," he said.

"We know it's a tough job but we're looking forward to it."

The Lions had shown what it took to take the Hurricanes on and that was about getting the ball, holding onto it and not going into their shell.

"That's the key thing for us, we've got to keep playing for 80 minutes," he said.

Second five-eighths Sonny Bill Williams returns to the starting side in spite of not having played any club rugby before his return.

However, Umaga said he had ticked all the boxes needed adding that experienced players were a little different than the younger players because they were used to getting straight back into action as flanker Jerome Kaino had shown in Sydney.

"They know exactly what they need and they get it, demand it, out of themselves through our process and getting back to rugby," he said.

Williams had shown a lot of energy in the past couple of weeks, he said, wanting to get back and Umaga was in no doubt he would do that. He was also a calming influence between two members of last year's World Champion Under-20 team in first five-eighths Stephen Perofeta and centre Orbyn Leger.

Sydney had been a natural confidence booster for the side and the feeling afterwards had continued through the week.

He said the general feeling was that when the Blues get things right and stick to a plan the results will follow.

"I think the biggest thing was our young guys have been through some tough times and they know what they can go to in terms of the support around them from the other players and the big thing was they can learn to flush mistakes and move on quickly, within the game and I thought they did that well," he said.

Umaga hadn't been surprised at the form rampant Hurricanes left wing Ben Lam had shown in the competition this year. It had always been in him to play as he has, it was just a case of when it was going to come out of him, he said.

"This is the year that he has put it out and shown the potential he has always had," he said.