Super Rugby
Mealamu praises second-half performance
ESPNscrum Staff
June 24, 2011
Kurtley Beale offloads against the Blues, Blues v Waratahs, Super Rugby Qualifier, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, June 24, 2011
Kurtley Beale found his movements restricted in the second-half as the Blues focussed their attentions on him © Getty Images

Blues captain Keven Mealamu praised his side's second-half performance following their 26-13 victory over the Waratahs.

The Waratahs started the game well and crossed the try-line first courtesy of Tom Carter. The Blues soon rallied through a try from Lachie Munro and went into the break 13-8 ahead, despite looking unconvincing. "They're a really good attacking side and they played really well around those rucks," Mealamu told Sky Sport afterwards. "But we worked it out in the second half and looked after the ball a lot better."

Key to the Waratahs attack was playmaker Kurtley Beale and Mealamu believes they addressed his threat well in the second-half, restricting his influence. "He's a hard man to shut down, and he's been on fire for this competition. I think we did that really well in the second-half but if we'd been able to do that earlier, we would have been able to put some better pressure on."

The Blues will now face the Reds in Brisbane, unless the Sharks beat the Crusaders in the other play-off meaning the Blues will travel to Cape Town to face the Stormers. For the Waratahs, however, it is the end of their Super Rugby season. Waratahs' captain Phil Waugh recently announced his retirement and Friday's match will prove to be his last in a NSW jersey. At the final-whistle, the flanker lamented some of the "dumb footy" his side played.

"We probably put ourselves under a little bit of pressure midway through that first half," Waugh said. "We had our chances, but we weren't good enough on the night. We put ourselves under pressure trying to run the ball out from our own 40, turned the ball over and they accumulated points well.

"You can't question the guys character and effort, we just played not the smartest football tonight. We played some dumb footy and they played smart. We needed to play down their end a bit more and not put ourselves under as much pressure we did."

The Waratahs went into the game with a series of well-documented injuries, but captain Waugh refused to blame the defeat on the absentees. "We certainly had our fair share of injuries, that's no excuse, I think every team in the competition has had injuries but we've had more than most."

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