Sloppy handling consigned the Blues to their fifth loss in six games to start the Super Rugby season.

They fumbled their way to a 34-23 loss to the Rebels in Melbourne to sink to last on the table.

The visitors had the opportunity to snatch an unlikely late win after Chris Lowrey crashed over for a try with four minutes remaining.

However the Rebels added another of their own to close out the match.


Prop Charlie Faumuina said their handling was the difference between winning and losing.

"We made some good inroads into their team and then right at the end someone would lose the ball, it just cost us the game."

Wallabies back James O'Connor starred for the Rebels, notching 24 points in a virtuoso performance.