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Blues too hot for Connacht

10th February 2012 21:25

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Ben Blair Cardiff Blues 2010

Seventeen points: Ben Blair

Cardiff Blues stayed in touch with the RaboDirect PRO12 chasing pack after recording a vital 22-15 victory over Connacht at the Arms Park on Friday.

Connacht went into this game in desperate need of a confidence booster after a demoralising defeat at the hands of Aironi last time out.

Indeed the Irish side made a positive start, and found themselves leading the contest after three minutes, fly-half Niall O'Connor landing a penalty.

Cardiff hit back though, and had the lead themselves after ten minutes, Ben Blair on target twice for the home side from penalty kicks.

The visitors were playing positive rugby however, and they scored the first try of the contest midway through the first half, when Tiernan O'Halloran dived over. O'Connor added the extras, and after the first quarter, the game was shaping up well.

Before the break, Cardiff ensured they would take a lead into the half-time interval, when Blair again fired over two penalties in quick succession, to leave it 12-10 at the break, with all to play for in the second half.

Cardiff stepped up the tempo in the second period though, and when Blair added his fifth penalty of the game, things were beginning to slip away from Connacht.

The Blues were playing the better rugby, and put themselves further clear going into the final quarter when Xavier Rush bundled over the whitewash to put Cardiff in command of the game. Blair added the two, Connacht now needed a minor miracle to rescue the match.

It wasn't to be though and the game petered out, and even though the visitors added a late try, Cardiff held out to secure the win to leave the Irish side rooted near the basement.

The scorers:

For Cardiff Blues:
Try: Hobbs
Con: Blair
Pen: Blair 5

For Connacht:
Try: O'Halloran, Moore
Con: O'Connor
Pen: O'Connor

Cardiff Blues: 15 Ben Blair, 14 Richard Mustoe, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Tom James, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Xavier Rush, 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Maama Molitika, 5 Paul Tito (c) 4 Michael Paterson, 3, Sam Hobbs 2, T Rhys Thomas, 1 John Yapp.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Tyrell, 17 Nathan Trevett, 18 Ryan Harford, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Macauley Cook, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Tom Williams.

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy (c), 14 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 13 Kyle Tonetti, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Tiernan O'Halloran, 10 Niall O'Connor, 9 Paul O'Donohoe, 8 George Naoupu, 7 Ray Ofisa, 6 John Muldoon, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Michael Swift, 3 Ronan Loughney, 2 Adrian Flavin, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Denis Buckley, 18 Stewart Maguire, 19 Dave Gannon, 20 Mick Kearney, 21 Dave Moore, 22 Matthew Jarvis, 23 Henry Fa'afili.

Referee: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)

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