Connacht secure vital home win

Date published: November 25 2016

John Cooney scored 13 points to help Connacht beat Cardiff Blues 18-7 in their PRO12 clash on Friday night.

Cooney opened the scoring with a try on 15 minutes. The visitors responded immediately with a score from Tom James as the sides spent most of the first half level. 

Either side of half time, Cooney scored two penalties to put the 2016 champions into a commanding position. This lead was solidified with a try from Bundee Aki, which turned out to be the only subsequent score of the second half as the hosts ran out victors. 

The Irish side's third win of the season sees them rise above Edinburgh into eighth. Meanwhile, Blues remain in seventh position and will leave disappointed having dominated much of the match. 

Cooney's first try came following a great drive from a five-metre scrum. The scrum-half added the extras himself to put the hosts into an early seven-point lead. 

The lead only lasted two minutes as Tom James intercepted a pass before running in to score his seventh try of the season. Steven Shingler converted to restore parity to the scoresheet. 

Cooney knocked over a penalty in the final minute of the half to give the hosts a narrow half-time lead. After 48 minutes, Cooney added his third kick of the match with a penalty after a Connacht player was tackled without the ball on the 22, this made the score 13-7. 

Connacht scored their second try in the 56th minute. Aki scoring after receiving the ball off Niyi Adeolokun following a nice chip through from the winger. Carty's conversion attempt was missed but Connacht held a commanding 11-point lead which they maintained until the final whistle to run out 18-7 victors.

The scorers:

For Connacht:
Tries: Cooney, Aki
Con: Cooney
Pens: Cooney 2

For Cardiff:
Try: James
Con: Shingler

Connacht: 15 Cian Kelleher, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Bundee Aki, 12 Craig Ronaldson, 11 Stacey Ili, 10 Jack Carty, 9 John Cooney, 8 John Muldoon (c), 7 Jake Heenan, 6 Eoin McKeon, 5 James Cannon, 4 Quinn Roux, 3 Conor Carey, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Denis Buckley
Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 JP Cooney, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Nepia Fox-Matamua, 21 Caolin Blade, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 Danie Poolman

Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Willis Halaholo, 11 Tom James, 10 Steve Shingler, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Josh Navidi, 7 Ellis Jenkins (c), 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Jarrad Hoeata, 4 George Earle, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Rhys Gill
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Brad Thyer, 18 Taufa'ao Filise, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Shane Lewis-Hughes, 21 Rhodri Davies, 22 Alex Cuthbert, 23 Matthew Morgan

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Simon Rees (Wales), John Carvill (Ireland)
TMO: David Sainsbury (Scotland)