Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Counties Manukau upset Otago in the opening round of the ITM Cup with an impressive 29-13 win at home as player/coach Tana Umaga made his return to New Zealand provincial rugby.
There was some doubt over whether Umaga would turn out for his new team after he had a bout of the flu earlier in the week. He didnt let the fans down though as he turned out in Pukekoke to play 60 minutes of rugby that was more than valuable to the home side.
The Steelers were superb on attack as they scored four tries while showing how lethal they can be with players like Sevens stars Sherwin Stowers and Tim Nanai Williams, and their double try scorer, flying winger Ahsee Tuala.
On defense they were most impressive though with Umaga clearly running the run and giving the guys around him great confidence in their ability as they held out the Otago attacks until literally the last minute of play.
"We talked about wanting to make our supporters, our families and ourselves proud. And I think we did that," said Umaga. "Our D was strong, which was pleasing but there are still things to work on. We need to work on our discipline. We gave away a lot of penalties although it's something we've been working on."
When asked about being subbed by head coach Milton Haig, Umaga wasnt bothered. "I'm happy with that, though I'm starting to feel my age about now. Me being me I'll probably try to play as much as I can (this season), but I'll just listen to my body. It starts now with my recovery, and we'll see how it goes."
If you watched a few of the ITM Cup games and spotted anything you think is worth sharing here on RD, please get in touch as it's not always possible to watch everything. Drop me an email or post a request on the forum . Thanks!