adidas All Blacks AIG Logo


Blues sucked Lions into playing their game

Getty Images

    12 Mar 2018     Getty Images

The No.8, who suffered a knee injury midway through the first and was forced to leave the field, said the Lions should have keep the ball tighter.

"It was a bit frantic. I thought we got a bit loose, and started giving too much possession away. We weren't clinical enough and we did not stick to our strengths.

"I thought if we kept it a bit tighter we would have got a lot more reward," he said.

"We started throwing the ball around a bit. Although they did put us under pressure, and credit to the Blues, they put line speed on us. It just felt like we were throwing the ball away.

"We all know how good they are and how clinical they are on turnover possession and they feed off that. That's what they did," he said.

"If you're going to give them that amount of possession and opportunity, they're going to capitalise. So you need to be more clinical with ball in hand.

What frustrated Whiteley, who is expected to recover quickly from his injury, is that the Blues denied the Lions their usual strong point.

"It's disappointing because our strength is the last 20 minutes. Tonight is where they took the game away from us," he said.

"I can't remember the last time we were that poor [in the last 20 minutes]."

At the same time Whiteley acknowledged the Blues were a quality team with exceptional individuals

Coach Swys de Bruin said the Lions battled all day to protect their ball.

"They [the Blues] are a very dangerous side when it comes to turnovers, they were very quick on the breakdown. At the end it was a game of margins, but we have got to close games down like this," he said.

The Lions had been sucked into playing the way the Blues wanted them to play and the home side were guilty of not maintaining their focus on their own game.

"They played very well. They had a very good game, they kicked the ball well, their individual players at stages were good tonight. They got line breaks at the right time," he said.