Planet Rugby

Cardiff fumble their way past Connacht

30th September 2010 20:59

Share:

Casey Laulala Cardiff Blues 2010 magners

Try scorer: Casey Laulala

A try from centre Casey Laulala helped Cardiff Blues beat Connacht 22-6 in the Magners League on Thursday.

The result sees Cardiff go top of the Magners League on points difference over previous leaders Munster but the expected flood of tries were not forthcoming.

Only once did they cross the Connacht line - a brilliant individual effort by man of the match Laulala - with the stout defence of the visitors helped by the Blues' error-strewn display.

Coach Dai Young clutched at straws as he said: "It shows how far we've come that we can play really poorly and still win."

But it was dire entertainment for the 11,000-plus crowd, swelled by hundreds of schoolchildren on free passes.

A tedious opening quarter saw Blues fly-half Dan Parks outkick opposite number Ian Keatley by two penalties to one, with the only excitement resulting from a couple of scything runs by dangerous Connacht wing Fionn Carr.

The first decent move put together by the Blues backs fizzled out when Parks sent a cross-kick straight to a waiting defender, but the Australian-born Scot used his boot to better effect with a drop goal to extend the lead.

Connacht fly-half Keatley dispossessed Blues flanker Michael Paterson on halfway and reached the home 22 before a desperate last-ditch tackle by Leigh Halfpenny saved the day.

After half an hour's huffing and puffing, the game finally saw some flair, Laulala celebrating his return from injury by cutting inside two hapless Irishmen to cross for a superb touchdown, converted by Parks.

Connacht opened the second half with a Keatley penalty, before a kick ahead by Blues wing Chris Czekaj forced a lineout near the visitors' line, but the opportunity was squandered when Parks' drop-goal attempt was charged down.

It was typical of an evening when both sides' attacking efforts were ruined by basic handling errors, with the Blues in particular suffering at the set-piece and the breakdown, frequently being turned over or penalised after the tackle.

The usual stream of substitutes did nothing to help the teams find any rhythm, but Connacht almost broke through with an angled run by hooker Adrian Flavin, who was held up just short.

With try chances in short supply, the Blues were grateful for a penalty from halfway by Parks and another, from even further, by Halfpenny to make the game safe and instal them - temporarily - in the top spot.

The scorers

For Cardiff:
Try: Laulala
Con: Parks
Pens: Parks 3, Halfpenny
Drop: Parks

For Connacht:
Pens: Keatley 2

Cardiff Blues: 15 Ben Blair, 14 Leigh Halfpenny, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Chris Czekaj, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Gareth Cooper, 8 Xavier Rush (capt), 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Michael Paterson, 5 Deiniol Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Tafa'ao Filise, 2 Rhys Williams, 1 John Yapp.
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Paul Tito, 20 Andries Pretorius, 21 Kristian Baller, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Tom Shanklin.

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Troy Nathan, 13 Niva Ta'auso, 12 Keith Matthews, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Frank Murphy (capt), 8 Mike McComish, 7 Ray Ofisa, 6 Michael McCarthy, 5 Andrew Browne, 4 Michael Swift, 3 Jamie Hagan, 2 Adrian Flavin, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Dermot Murphy, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 Rob Sweeney, 19 Bernie Upton, 20 Johnny O'Connor, 21 Cillian Willis, 22 Miah Nikora, 23 Darragh Fanning.

Referee: Andy Macpherson

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand vs Australia08:35
Argentina vs South Africa20:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse vs Castres20:45
Saturday , August 23
Brive vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Toulon vs La Rochelle18:30
Bordeaux-Begles vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Montpellier vs Grenoble18:30
Bayonne vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Lyon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 22
Pumas vs GriquasPumas vs Griquas Preview
Saturday , August 23
Blue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
Western Province vs Lions17:05
Sharks vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Friday , August 22
Waikato vs CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Preview
Hawkes Bay vs TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Preview
Saturday , August 23
Northland vs Wellington14:35
Counties Manukau vs Otago16:35
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu vs Auckland14:35
Bay Of Plenty vs Tasman16:35
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato vs Taranaki19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 30 - 26 GrenobleClermont Auvergne vs Grenoble Report
Montpellier 16 - 19 Racing Metro ParisMontpellier vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Toulouse 20 - 19 Oyonnax
Bordeaux-Begles 18 - 9 Lyon
Brive 37 - 15 La Rochelle
Castres 22 - 25 Stade Francais
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 60 - 19 Eastern Province KingsLions vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Cheetahs 34 - 27 GriquasCheetahs vs Griquas Report
Western Province 41 - 17 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Otago 28 - 14 North Harbour
Wellington 25 - 37 WaikatoWellington vs Waikato Report
Canterbury 48 - 9 AucklandCanterbury vs Auckland Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 15
Bayonne 15 - 29 ToulonBayonne vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 34 - 17 PumasSharks vs Pumas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Southland 34 - 23 Bay Of Plenty
Thursday , August 14
Taranaki 9 - 9 Counties ManukauTaranaki vs Counties Manukau Report
More ITM Cup results
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 9
Griquas 24 - 31 SharksGriquas vs Sharks Report
Pumas 28 - 21 CheetahsPumas vs Cheetahs Report
Lions 41 - 13 Blue BullsLions vs Blue Bulls Report
Friday , August 8
Eastern Province Kings 16 - 35 Western ProvinceEastern Province Kings vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00