AUDIO: Lions played into Blues' hands
SUPER RUGBY REACTION: Lions head coach Swys de Bruin believes that his team played a style of rugby which suited the Blues during their 35-38 defeat to the Auckland-based team in a Super Rugby Round Four clash at Ellis Park on Saturday.
The Lions looked well on their way to victory after leading the Blues 21-10 at half-time. However, the Blues fought back in the second half and to win the game courtesy of a 79th-minute try from replacement loose forward Murphy Taramai which was converted by replacement flyhalf Stephen Perofeta.
The Lions looked to outrun the Blues at every given opportunity and played expansive rugby from inside their own half throughout the game while the Blues managed to create opportunities off turnover ball.
"We didn't focus on our job at hand. They [Blues] are a very dangerous side when it comes to turnovers, they were very quick on the breakdown and at the end it was a game of margins, but we got to close games down like this," De Bruin told reporters after the game on Saturday.
Lions captain Warren Whiteley was replaced only 21 minutes into the game after suffering a suspected posterior cruciate ligament injury (knee injury) and De Bruin added that Whiteley's leadership was missed. However, he believes that there should have been enough leaders in the team to carry the Lions over the line in a close game.
"It's a setback. Warren is a one of a kind and he is a fantastic leader, but the other guys must stand up.
"Our whole spine plays for the Springboks, there's a lot of leaders in the team and it's no excuse," said De Bruin.
Whiteley shared the same sentiments as his coach in terms of the Lions' disorganised play which gifted possession and opportunities to the Blues.
"I agree, I thought we got a bit loose.
"I thought if we kept it a bit tighter we would have got a lot more reward.
"We started throwing the ball around. They did put us under pressure and credit to the Blues they put line speed on us.
"It just felt like we were throwing balls away and we all know on turnover possession how good they are and how clinical they are, and they feed off that," Whiteley explained.
Whiteley added that he will be going for a scan on Sunday to assess the extent of his injury.
"I have to go for a scan tomorrow [Sunday].
"At this stage it just seems like a grade one maybe PCL [posterior cruciate ligament] - not too serious so perhaps only a couple weeks, so that's what it seems like now.
"I'm walking fine, there's no pain. It just feels a bit unstable, so doc says he can feel maybe my PCL is a bit loose, so maybe a grade one - just a couple of weeks," commented Whiteley.
The Lions next play the Sunwolves in a Round Five Super Rugby match at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday.
By Josh Isaacson