Planet Rugby

Cardiff come back to beat Connacht

03rd May 2014 18:02

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robbie henshaw connacht

Try-time: Robbie Henshaw

Cardiff Blues overturned a half-time deficit to eek out victory 22-15 over Connacht in Saturday's PRO12 clash in Galway.

Not since February 2011 have the Welsh capital club enjoyed such a purple patch in the league, raising hopes of better times ahead under the coaching team of Paul John and Dale McIntosh.

For the first hour of the match though Cardiff were behind and at 15-3 down looked set to return home from Ireland empty-handed. But two tries in the space of three minutes - from a penalty try and replacement Lewis Jones - saw a turnaround in their fortunes.

Led out by Matthew Rees for the first time since the hooker successfully underwent treatment for testicular cancer, the Blues showed good early touches in attack but were unable to find a way through during a scoreless first quarter.

Instead it was Connacht who took the lead on 21 minutes through the boot of fly-half Miah Nikora. And worse was to come for the visitors when wing Matt Healy touched down Kieran Marmion's kick ahead for a try which Nikora converted. Gareth Davies' penalty on the stroke of half-time finally got the Blues on the scoreboard as they went into the break 10-3 down.

With the second half only five minutes old Connacht stretched their lead to 12 points after centre Robbie Henshaw crossed for their second try of the night. Blues' dominance at scrum time eventually saw them get a foothold in the game with the award of a penalty try, and three minutes later Lewis Jones dotted down for a try with Davies adding both conversions to edge them ahead at 17-15.

Aly Muldowney saw yellow on 69 minutes after referee Neil Paterson penalised Connacht for another scrum offence and it didn't take long for the Blues to take advantage, Dan Fish crossing wide out with what proved to be the final score of the game. The Blues move up to 7th as a result of the win in Galway.

The scorers:

For Connacht:
Tries: Healy, Henshaw, Fish
Con: Nikora
Pen: Nikora
Yellow cards: Muldowney, McKeon

For Cardiff:
Tries: Penalty Try, Jones
Cons: Davies
Pen: Davies

The teams:

Connacht: 15 Darragh Leader, 14 Danie Poolman, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Eoin Griffin, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Miah Nikora, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 Willie Faloon, 6 John Muldoon (capt), 5 Mick Kearney, 4 Aly Muldowney, 3 Rodney Ah You, 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 1 Ronan Loughney.
Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Denis Buckley, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Michael Swift, 20 Andrew Browne, 21 Frank Murphy, 22 Dan Parks, 23 Gavin Duffy.

Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Gareth Davies, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Ellis Jenkins, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Macauley Cook, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Taufa'ao Filise, 2 Matthew Rees (c), 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Chris Dicomidis, 20 Luke Hamilton, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Simon Humberstone, 23 Isaia Tuifua.

Referee: Neil Paterson (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Dudley Phillips (Ireland), Olly Hodges (Ireland)

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