Late win for Cardiff Blues

Date published: March 6 2015

A converted try in the 87th minute saw Cardiff Blues pick up a breathtaking 18-17 PRO12 victory over Connacht at the Arms Park on Friday.

After a tight opening, Connacht slowly grew into the match and began to dominate.

Jake Heenan scored the only try of the first-half off the back of a lineout maul. Craig Donaldson got the conversion and subsequent penalty to put the visitors ten in front but Rhys Patchell's boot got Cardiff to within a converted try before the half's end. 

The second-half belonged to Cardiff Blues though as Joaquin Tuculet got their first try of the match five minutes after kick off. 

Patchell gave the home side the lead via a penalty but that was soon cancelled out by Aly Muldowney's powerful solo try. 

That looked like the end of it but Tuculet popped up for another well past the 80 minute mark to earn the Blues a sensational home win. 

This win and last week's dispatching of Edinburgh will help to build some much needed momentum for the Blues following the departure of Mark Hammett. 

In the first five minutes O'Halloran had a try disallowed for tacking in the air but the ball was given back to the visitors through a penalty advantage. Ronaldson went for touch and a driving maul saw Heenan crash over for the first points of the game. 

Ronaldson scuffed a drop-goal attempt with 22 minutes on the board but the ball was brought back for another Connacht penalty, and Donaldson converted. 

Patchell was given the chance to get his team on the scoreboard two minutes later from just outside the 22 and the Welshman made no mistake to make it 3-10 at the half's end. 

Cardiff Blues dominated the opening ten of the second-half with Lloyd Williams coming tantalisingly close to scoring off the back of a maul. 

Another maul minutes later made room for Alex Cuthbert to run under the posts but to his dismay the home side had yet another try taken away by the video referee because of an obstruction.

Ellis Jenkins and Sam Hobbs showed good hands to set up Tuculet on the wing for Cardiff's first try but Patchell shanked the conversion leaving Connacht 8-10 in front. 

With a quarter of an hour left Connacht conceded a penalty just in front of the sticks, Patchell dissected the posts to put the home side in front for the first time in the match at 11-10. 

Muldowney crashed through a gap in a tired Cardiff defence to put his team ahead with eight minutes to go and Ronaldson kept his head to make it 11-17. 

Cardiff Blues kept pushing for a try though and finally got one after 87 minutes, and a cool-headed Patchell stepped up and slotted the conversion to seal a dramatic win.

The scorers:

For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Tuculet 2
Con: Patchell
Pen: Patchell 2

For Connacht:
Tries: Heenan, Muldowney
Con: Ronaldson 2
Pen: Ronaldson

Cardiff Blues: 15 Rhys Patchell, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Joaquin Tuculet, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Josh Navidi, 7 Ellis Jenkins (c), 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Lou Reed, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Taufa'ao Filise, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Sam Hobbs.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Filo Paulo, 20 Macauley Cook, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Tom Isaacs.

Connacht: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Tiernan O’Halloran, 13 Danie Poolman, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Craig Ronaldson, 9 John Cooney, 8 George Naoupu, 7 Jake Heenan, 6 John Muldoon (c), 5 Aly Muldowney, 4 Mick Kearney, 3 Rodney Ah You, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Shane Delahunt, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Andrew Browne, 20 Eoghan Masterson, 21 Ian Porter, 22 Jack Carty, 23 Darragh Leader.

Referee: Lloyd Linton (SRU)
Assistant Referees: Leighton Hodges, Craig Evans (both WRU)
Citing Commissioner: Aurwel Morgan (WRU)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (WRU)