Mauger pleased with win first up

Aaron Mauger. Photo: Getty
Aaron Mauger. Photo: Getty
Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger has started his coaching career in the South with a win but he admitted it took a while to come.

The Highlanders chalked up a 41-34 victory over the Blues last night and give Mauger a first-up win in his role as Highlanders coach.

Mauger said his side worked its way back into the game.

''I was pretty happy with the win in the end. I thought we gave the Blues plenty of opportunities in the end to stay in the game.

''They capitalised and showed some outstanding skills and scored some nice tries. But I thought we did pretty well to work our way back into the game and controlled that second half pretty well.

''We played some really good rugby in that first half but we let them back in. They are a good side and were always going to punish you if you gave them opportunities.''

Mauger said he told his players at halftime they needed to just execute better and from that would gain momentum.

The yellow-carding of Blues replacement loose forward Antonio Kiri Kiri was a key moment in the game, Mauger said, and his side made the most of it.

He said first five-eighth Lima Sopoaga left the field with cramp, while lock Jackson Hemopo took a head knock and would be checked over the weekend.

Blues coach Tana Umaga said his side was disappointed with the result.

He felt the yellow card was critical. He never felt comfortable throughout the game and said he was pleased his players kept going the whole game.

Discipline was key and he said the yellow card was correct - any contact with the head was a yellow card.

He praised the performance of the Blues first five-eighth Bryan Gatland and said he was composed in everything he did.

The Blues take on the Chiefs next weekend when the Highlanders have a bye.

Mauger said the side will not get a break this week as they start building for what are three hard games in a row.

The side next play the Stormers at Forsyth Barr Stadium

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