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
Super Rugby
Saturday , August 2
Waratahs vs CrusadersWaratahs vs Crusaders Preview
More Super Rugby fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 8
Eastern Province Kings vs Western Province19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , July 26
Crusaders 38 - 6 SharksCrusaders vs Sharks Report
Waratahs 26 - 8 BrumbiesWaratahs vs Brumbies Report
Saturday , July 19
Brumbies 32 - 30 ChiefsBrumbies vs Chiefs Report
Sharks 31 - 27 HighlandersSharks vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 12
Crusaders 34 - 8 HighlandersCrusaders vs Highlanders Report
Reds 3 - 34 WaratahsReds vs Waratahs Report
Lions 60 - 25 CheetahsLions vs Cheetahs Report
Stormers 10 - 34 SharksStormers vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 11
Blues 8 - 11 ChiefsBlues vs Chiefs Report
Brumbies 47 - 25 Western ForceBrumbies vs Western Force Report
Bulls 40 - 7 Melbourne RebelsBulls vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Sunday , July 6
Waratahs 44 - 16 HighlandersWaratahs vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 5
Crusaders 21 - 13 BluesCrusaders vs Blues Report
Western Force 30 - 20 RedsWestern Force vs Reds Report
Stormers 16 - 0 BullsStormers vs Bulls Report
Cheetahs 27 - 20 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 4
Chiefs 24 - 16 HurricanesChiefs vs Hurricanes Report
Lions 34 - 17 Melbourne RebelsLions vs Melbourne Rebels Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 28
South Africa 55 - 6 ScotlandSouth Africa vs Scotland Report
More International Match results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 16 - 9 CrusadersHurricanes vs Crusaders Report
Waratahs 39 - 8 BrumbiesWaratahs vs Brumbies Report
Western Force 14 - 40 BluesWestern Force vs Blues Report
Friday , June 27
Highlanders 29 - 25 ChiefsHighlanders vs Chiefs Report
Melbourne Rebels 20 - 36 RedsMelbourne Rebels vs Reds Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 21
Australia 39 - 13 FranceAustralia vs France Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00