Counties coach hopes Shield's legacy remains

DAVID LONG
Last updated 20:12 30/08/2014
Tana Umaga
Getty
TOUGH LUCK: Counties coach Tana Umaga congratulates Magpies fullback Israel Dagg after Saturday's Ranfurly Shield challenge.

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The Ranfurly Shield may have gone but Counties Manukau coach Tana Umaga hopes its legacy remains.

The Steelers had six successful defences of the Log o' Wood before handing it back to Hawke's Bay, the province they took it off almost a year ago, on Saturday afternoon.

The former All Blacks captain felt the presence of the shield created something special during its time in the province and hopes people remember what it brought to the local community.

''It was very special. We had it for a long time, we created a bit of history, a legacy here with what we've achieved. No one else has done it in our time,'' Umaga said.

"We're pretty happy with what we've done. Obviously, to lose it the way we did in terms of performance wasn't something we'd be too happy about but that's the way rugby goes.''

Despite the performance which was below what was expected, Umaga said there was plenty of pride in what his players have achieved over the past year.

''I'm always proud of what these guys do, how hard they work and what it means to play in front of their families and home crowd,'' he said.

''We've got to be more clinical. We make a lot of work for ourselves and I think we can be more ruthless in some areas.

''But having it [the shield] has been extremely good. The support we've got and just the stories that have come out of it from those that have been there when we've had draws and near misses. It has invoked a bit of history searching from a lot of our players because of how long it's been around.

''I can't say enough about what it's done for our community and hopefully our community remember the people that have brought it here.''

The game did finish in controversial circumstances as the Magpies gave away three penalties inside their 22 in the last few frantic minutes but referee Mike Fraser didn't issue a yellow card.

Umaga bit his tongue when asked about the refereeeing performance but said he would take the issue up with New Zealand Rugby.

''You know how I am with referees and commenting, so I'll just have to leave that to the people who perceive to know more than I do,'' he said. 

''But there is no doubt that I'll be talking to Bryce Lawrence about some issues I thought we had today.''

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