Two tries in the last eleven minutes helped Cardiff Blues recover to draw 24-24 with Connacht at the Sportsground on Friday.
Two tries in the last eleven minutes helped Cardiff Blues recover to draw 24-24 with Connacht in Galway on Friday.
Leading 24-10 with just over half an hour to go, Connacht looked to have wrapped up their fourth PRO12 win of the season.
But the Blues refused to lie down and late tries from forwards Macauley Cook and Scott Andrews saw them head home with two points in the bag.
Centre Craig Ronaldson, who enjoyed a fine evening with the boot, got the scoring underway with a sixth minute penalty. But the lead was short-lived after Adam Thomas cut a great line to dash over. Rhys Patchell added the extras to make it 7-3 to the Welshmen.
Robbie Henshaw put Connacht back in front on the half-hour mark with Connacht’s first try, and centre partner Ronaldson turned the five points into seven.
Patchell soon levelled the scores with a 35th minute penalty and the Blues could have gone into half-time holding all the aces had Jarrad Hoeata been able to hold onto a pass and exploit a two-man overlap.
Roared on by a crowd of over 5,000, Connacht blitzed the Blues with tries from scrum-half Kieran Marmion and tighthead Nathan White in the space of four second-half minutes. Ronaldson landed both touchline conversions to seemingly put Connacht out of sight.
However the Blues responded well and a sustained period of pressure was rewarded when flanker Cook went in under the posts. Patchell landed the straightforward conversion.
The Blues continued to press and after 32 phases, and with just two minutes left on the clock, Connacht’s resistance eventually broke, prop Andrews touching down for a try that Patchell converted with ease to hand the visitors a share of the spoils.
Tries: Henshaw, Marmion, White
Con: Ronaldson 3
For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: White, Cook, Andrews
Con: Patchell 3
Connacht: 15 Darragh Leader, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Craig Ronaldson, 11 Danie Poolman, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 George Naoupu, 7 Willie Faloon, 6 John Muldoon (c), 5 Quinn Roux, 4 Mick Kearney, 3 Nathan White, 2 Dave Heffernan, 1 Ronan Loughney.
Replacements: 16 Shane Delahunt, 17 Denis Buckley, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 Eoin McKeon, 21 Ian Porter, 22 Fionn Carr, 23 Shane Layden.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Adam Thomas, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Dan Fish, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lewis Jones, 8 Manoa Vosawai, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Macauley Cook, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Taufa’ao Filise, 2 Matthew Rees (c), 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Josh Turnbull, 20 Josh Navidi, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Geraint Walsh.
Referee: Neil Paterson (SRU, 62nd competition game)
Assistant Referees: Andy Brace, John Carvill (both IRFU)
Citing Commissioner: John Cole (IRFU)
TMO: Dermot Moloney (IRFU)