Cardiff Blues v Connacht
Friday 12 October 7.30pm kick off, Cardiff Arms Park, Magners League
An early penalty for Connacht by outside half Tim Donnelly saw the visitors take the lead. However, minutes later, a lovely ball in the backs released Ben Blair who came into the line at pace and cut through the defence to score the first try of the evening. Blair also added the conversion.
However Connacht struck back when hands in the ruck by the Blues, saw Connacht awarded another penalty that Donnelly converted off the post.
It was an open game with both sides trying to attack. A penalty for the Blues saw them kick to the corner and a good driving line-out from 15 yards saw them come to within yards of the Connacht try-line. The ball was spread out to Shanklin who cut back inside before the ball was eventually knocked on by Martyn Williams. He looked to have been obstructed before the ball arrived, but Connacht won the scrum and cleared.
The referee awarded a further penalty when it appeared that the Blues players had legally come through the ruck and Donnelly again converted.
The Blues had the final say of the half when Martyn Williams again showed his when he picked up the ball from the base of a ruck, threw a dummy, and sprinted in to score under the posts. Blair once more added the conversion.
HALF TIME CARDIFF BLUES 14 CONNACHT 9
It was the Irishmen who got the better start to the second half. A good break by the Connact full back Gavin Duffy saw the visitors move into the Blues twenty two before eventually Conor OLoughlin drove over from short range. Donnelly was once again was accurate with his kick.
Two penalty chances from a distance were missed by Blues but they nearly scored in the corner when Tom James cut through the defence and fed the ball out to Spice. He passed to fellow Kiwi Paul Tito but as he crossed the try line the ball was just knocked on.
The Blues looked lively and were attacking well in the Connacht half. They came to within yards of the Connacht try-line again and were awarded a penalty that Macleod converted.
Connacht were then dealt a blow when handed two yellow cards. When hooker John Fogarty received his, the Blues capitalised when Macleod once again converting the penalty.
Minutes later the Blues were under pressure in their own twenty two. A Ben Blair clearance was muddled up by the Conancht wing and full back which gave Blair the opportunity to hack ahead. Tom James showed his speed to sprint up, hack through, and score in the corner. Macleod hit the upright with the conversion.
The Blues were now on a roll a won a lineout through Deiniol Jones on the left. They then spread the ball out through the backs and James once again showed great strength and speed to shake off his marker and sprint in from 40 yards to secure a bonus point a seal the win for the Blues.
Cardiff Blues 15 Ben Blair 14 Rhys Williams (52off) 13 Tal Selley 12 Tom Shanklin 11 Tom James 10 Dai Flanagan (52off) 9 Richie Rees (52off) 8 Mark Lewis (74off) 7 Martyn Williams 6 Scott Morgan 5 Paul Tito (73off) 4 Deiniol Jones 3 Scott Roberts (61off) 2 Gareth Williams (68off) 1 Gethin Jenkins 16 Taufaao Filise (61on) 17 T Rhys Thomas (68on) 18 Bradley Davies (73on) 19 Maama Molitika (74on) 20 Jason Spice (52on) 21 Nick Macleod (52on) 22 Gareth Thomas (52on)
Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy 14 Ofisa Treviranus 13 Mel Deane 12 Aidan Wynne 11 Keith Matthews 10 Tim Donnelly 9 Conor McPhillips 8 John Muldoon 7 Johnny O'Connor 6 Ray Ofisa 5 David Gannon 4 Michael swift 3 Robbie Morris 2 John Fogarty 1 Brett Wilkinson 16 Joe Merrigan 17 Brian McGovern 18 Michael McCarthy 19 Colm Rigney 20 Conor O'Loughlin 21 Peter Durcan 22 Andrew Browne
CARDIFF BLUES Connacht
TRIES Blair x 1 OLoughlin x 1
M Williams x 1
T James x 2
PENALTIES Macleod x 2 Donnelly x 3
CONVERSIONS Blair x 2 OLoughlin x 1
Peter Fitzgibbon (IRFU)
Gwyn Morris (WRU)
David Williams (WRU