Planet Rugby

Blues edge out Connacht

29th October 2011 19:56

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Dan Parks lining one up against Northampton

On-target: Dan Parks

Cardiff Blues pushed themselves into the top four of the RaboDirect PRO12 standings after seeing off Connacht 26-20 at the Sportsground on Saturday.

The Blues put the disappointment of last week's defeat to Welsh rivals Scarlets to bed, coming from behind to claim a valuable victory in Galway.

The home side were quick out of the blocks here though, and had a try in the opening few minutes of the game, Tiernan O' Halloran diving over after great play from Rodney Ah You.

Cardiff responded well though, and Dan Parks brought them level after ten minutes after a Connacht were caught offside. All their hard work was immediately undone though, as Niall O' Connor replied with a penalty for the home side, after a high tackle from the visitors.

The Blues had a number of chances to restore parity as the half went on, but failed to capitalise on any Connacht mistakes, and the home side went over again for another try on the half hour mark, after great work from the pack from a line-out saw Mike McCarthy touch the ball down.

Just how Cardiff Blues failed to register on the scoreboard again before the break is anyone's guess, as they had a whole host of chances, with Parks having a nightmare with the kicking duties, leaving Connacht in the ascendancy at the interval.

The away side came out a different team in the second period, and were over the line in the very first minute of the half. Poor concentration from the home side saw Casey Laulala dive over in the corner. Parks scored a confidence-boosting conversion.

The home side's poor start got even worse when Casey Laulala again scored a try, after intercepting a wayward Connacht pass. They did level things up midway through the half when substitute Miah Nikora scored a penalty on his return from injury, but a Parks penalty, followed by a drop-goal from the Scottish international, killed off the home side's threat.

Cardiff Blues managed to hold out for a much needed win, with Connacht surely kicking themselves after their second half display.

The scorers:

For Connacht:
Tries: O'Halloran, McCarthy
Con: O'Connor 2
Pen: O'Connor, Nikora

For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Cuthbert, Laulala
Con: Parks 2
Pen: Parks 3
Drop: Parks

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy (capt), 14 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Henry Fa'afili, 11 Tiernan O'Halloran, 10 Niall O'Connor, 9 Frank Murphy, 8 Ray Ofisa, 7 Johnny O'Connor, 6 John Muldoon, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Michael Swift, 3 Rodney Ah You, 2 Adrian Flavin, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 Dylan Rogers, 19 Dave Gannon, 20 George Naoupu, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Miah Nikora, 23 Brian Tuohy.

Cardiff Blues: 15 Chris Czekaj, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Tom James, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Xavier Rush, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Maama Molitika, 5 Paul Tito, 4 Michael Paterson, 3 Taufaao Filise, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 John Yapp.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Tyrrell, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Deiniol Jones, 20 Ellis Jenkins, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Gavin Evans.

Referee: Neil Paterson (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Leo Colgan (Ireland), Peter Roche (Ireland)
Television match official: Jude Quinn (Ireland)

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