Whiteley has the Blues following first Super Rugby defeat

Lions captain Warren Whiteley Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Lions captain Warren Whiteley is still be wondering how his side managed to lose their home Super Rugby clash with the Blues on Saturday after succumbing to a last second 38-35 defeat at Ellis Park.

The Lions led by 11 points going into the final six minutes and knocked the ball on over the Blues line with another chance to seal the win. But their profligacy came back to haunt them as the New Zealand side roared back in the closing stages to earn their first win of the season and inflict a maiden defeat on the Lions.

Whiteley, who faces a few weeks out with a ligament strain, says the Lions let themselves down in the closing stages.

"I can't remember when last we were that poor in the last 20 minutes," he told reporters after the game.

"It is disappointing because our strength is the last 20 minutes. That's when they took the game away from us.

"We would have learnt a lot of lessons from this. Perhaps we felt a bit of pressure. It got a bit frantic and I thought we got a bit loose. We started giving too much possession away and we weren't clinical enough.

"I thought we weren't direct enough. We didn't stick to our strengths. If we kept it a bit tighter we would have got a lot more reward," he added. Coach Swys de bruin was left to rue the lost opportunity to go top of the overall Super Rugby log after defeat for the champion Crusaders.

"We had a chance to go top of the log and ahead of everyone. We didn't. The Crusaders lost. Big teams lost. The race is on," he said.