John Mulvihill bemoaned Cardiff Blues slow start and failure to implement their game plan as they slipped to a 21-10 Guinness PRO14 defeat to Toyota Cheetahs.
The Blues found themselves trailing 14-0 after just 12 minutes in Bloemfontein after Shaun Venter and Sibhale Maxwane crossed for tries.
Mulvihill was disappointed that his side did not fully stick to script in the opening minutes and also pointed to a referee decision that allowed the Cheetahs to go the length of the pitch for a third decisive try.
Cardiff Blues had been driving a lineout towards the Cheetahs try-line but it popped out into the hands of Venter and he sent jet-heeled wing Maxwane away.
He said: “We prepared really well to keep the ball in play, our first four kicks went out and they had four lineouts. They are a very structured team, they play a lot off their lineout, they have big carriers, they drive a lot and we gave them their strength where we needed to take it away.
“After the first 10 minutes the score was 10-7 so our learning is if we have a game plan that we stick to it for 80 minutes.
“The possession and territory was about the same, we only gave away seven penalties and if you have a look at their three tries two of them came from when we were in possession of the ball.
“The try just before half-time, our driving maul to score… there is no way the guy with the ball came from an onside position. It was clearly the wrong decision and that’s a 14-point turnaround. We should have been there 14-10 not 21-3.”
Cardiff Blues return to Cardiff Arms Park next Sunday when they face Zebre. Tickets are available now by clicking here or calling 029 20 302030