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Blues search for Super Rugby consistency

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 13/07/2016

Tana Umaga © AP Tana Umaga The Blues' search for consistency will come up against the Waratahs' desperation when the Super Rugby regular season enters its final round.

The match will be the last in 2016 for the Blues, who have now gone five years without making the finals.

But there have been heartening signs in recent weeks for a team under new coach Tana Umaga, including a 40-15 victory over Australian conference leaders the Brumbies last weekend.

"We've achieved some things internally and the next thing for us is consistency," Umaga said.

"That's what good sides do. They're able to back up those performances week after week. That's something we need to chase a bit harder."

A victory at Eden Park on Friday night would also mean the Blues finish a season with more wins than losses for the first time since 2011.

But Umaga also knows they will be up against opponents with everything to play for.

The other New Zealand sides have claimed four of the five play-off spots available from the Australasian group, leaving the Brumbies and the Waratahs to battle for the remaining berth.

The pair are level on points, but the Brumbies sit above the Waratahs because they have had more wins.

"We know what the Waratahs bring," Umaga said.

"They're a desperate side at the moment. They need to play well and get a good result for their own season to keep tracking forward."

Umaga has selected an unchanged run-on 15 for the third week in a row.

The line-up includes two players who have started every match this year - wing Tevita Li and loose forward Steven Luatua.

Four others have appeared in every game - first five-eighth Ihaia West, halfback Bryn Hall, prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi and hooker and skipper James Parsons.

The bench features the bracketed inclusions of All Blacks George Moala and Charlie Faumuina, who could return from respective elbow and knee injuries subject to fitness tests.

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