As first games go, this was a cracker. Mike Umaga took charge of his first game as Director of Rugby as Hull came up just short in a 24-19 loss to second-placed Rams at Chants Ave. A losing bonus point was the least they deserved, and had the game gone on for another 10 minutes, the who knows, maybe a first win of the season would have been secured. In the build up to this game, Umaga stressed the importance of claiming small wins during the match, and he was pleased with that side of things.
“It’s been a hell of a week, so it’s nice to come out the other end with some small wins,” Umaga said.
“That was what I spoke about all week leading up to this game.
“We found some in different areas of the game so we can build on that.
“In the first half, we were guilty of playing within ourselves, maybe reverting to type.
“But in the second half, the lads took it upon themselves and they know what they didn’t do in the first half.
“They knew they were going to have to do something after half-time if they were make the opposition work.
“That’s what they did in the second half.
“We held on to the ball a bit more and it was good to see them have a go.
“It doesn’t matter who we play, I’ll be expecting that level of performance and better every week.”
Umaga only had two training sessions to prepare for Saturday’s first game of 2023. So what does he want to see from his players going forward?
“What I’d like to see, is for players to go out onto the pitch and express themselves,” he said.
“We don’t train on Tuesday and Thursday nights in the bitter cold, to not fire shots and do the bare minimum on a Saturday.
“We know we are going to have to go some, but we have to be brave and chance our arm.
“We also have to be prepared to roll our sleeves up and work hard.
“We saw a lot of glimpses of the boys getting stuck in against Rams, especially without the ball.”