Blues not convinced

Getty Images     25 Feb 2012     Getty Images

Lam happily conceded that his players had been ahead of the hindmost foot when presenting the Crusaders with the penalty goal chance that first five-eighths Tyler Bleyendaal landed to gain the final 19-18 lead.

But he was more interested to check if the same severity was imposed on the Crusaders as Piri Weepu attempted his dropped goal just ahead of the end of the game.

"The whole game, we could hear them [the referees], they were looking at the offside line, you know that was the one area they went for and then that last dropped goal, as it started to take its time, I was starting to think, 'well we'd be better off taking it up now', you could see they were really pushing that line.

"So it will be interesting to have a look at that and see what they were looking at because the video clearly shows there were a lot of guys offside. That was the penalty we gave away and fair enough to take them to 19-18.

"But that's the calls, we'll just review it and go through the process," he said.

Lam was disappointed in the result, especially after the first quarter in which he felt the Blues had played some good rugby.

"Then, in the last quarter before halftime a combination of lost possession, some [in]discipline, some calls allowed them to come back into the game, a mistake at 'D' when they scored their try and then the second half was a bit of a ding-dong battle, a bit of déjà vu from last year and it was always going to come down to a small moment," he said.

And unfortunately for the Blues, he said, this year they were on the wrong side of the ledger.

There were some close calls in the game but there was some intensity in the effort which was pleasing so early in the season and it was a case of looking after the ball more.

The lineout disappointed him also. It wasn't up to the side's usual standard and would be something to be looked at. The Blues had put pressure on themselves in that department but the Crusaders had challenged well, he said.

Captain Keven Mealamu felt the side put in enough effort but they had been rusty in the lineout while there were some little things around the ruck that involved looking after the ball better, especially against good teams like the Crusaders.

"We did that well in the first half, especially with our defence and we were able to put some good pressure on them but we need to be able to do that for 80 minutes," he said.

Lam said that while All Blacks second five-eighths Ma'a Nonu had arrived in Auckland on Friday, he had been busy flying to and from Wellington subsequently and faced a hectic weekend before training with the side on Monday.

As a result of his needing to be up to speed with the side and its moves it was most likely his first game would be on the African tour starting in the third round, he said.