Wellington captain Tana Umaga admitted that his defensive bunders cost his team the New Zealand Cup final against Waikato.
Waikato won 37-31, scoring four tries to three in Hamilton. However, while the Mooloos deserved their victory based on their record throughout the competition (they lost just once) Umaga’s performance made it that much easier.
Umaga was responsible for three Waikato tries – Richard Kahui’s match opener, the first of Byron Kelleher’s two tries and Brendon Leonard’s match-winner – as he failed to defend his channel.
“We let them get away to two easy tries. I’m still hurting on my defence, I let three tries in with some bad ‘D’. So I’m pretty gutted with my own display,” Umaga told xtramsn’s Duncan Johnstone.
“I thought we were in it the whole time. They scored a couple of good tries but they never got that far away from us,” added Umaga. “We felt if we could just keep playing some breaks it would come and if we would get in behind them. But their defence was very good. We were still trying all the way to the end. We got close.”
Wellington coach John Plumtree – who will join the Sharks at the end of the season – said he was pleased with his side’s season, despite the defeat on Saturday.
“I’m still really proud of the team with the way we came back from the quarter-finals on,” he said. “We weren’t playing good rugby before then. We had a couple of little hiccups today that let us down. But Waikato played excellent rugby.”