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Connacht Eagles 12 Cardiff Blues A 26

6th October 2018

Cardiff Blues A kept their Celtic Cup hopes alive with a bonus point victory over Connacht Eagles at Sportsground.

Richie Rees' side had a 19-point advantage at the interval, thanks to tries from Aled Summerhill, Liam Belcher and Tom James.

However, Connacht Eagles struck back with intent in the second half, but Harri Millard's score put the game beyond doubt, while also securing the bonus point.

There were blue skies over the Sportsground all afternoon, but the trademark Galway wind was present throughout.

The visitors started the game commandingly, and claimed the opening score of the day with only six minutes on the clock. 

Tom Williams received the ball from deep and spotted space behind the Connacht defence. His hack bounced up perfectly for Summerhill, who stepped past the final defender to touch down.

Williams converted, but Wales’ Capital Region would find themselves a man down after nine minutes, as openside Sion Edwards was sent to the sin bin for a no-arms tackle.

This allowed the home side to hunt for a score of their own, but the stern visiting defence dealt with the pressure well.

Pressure from Belcher in midfield forced Connacht to spill the ball, and a perfectly executed grubber from prop Keiron Assiratti found ground in the hosts’ 22.

The Irish outfit were then penalised for obstruction, and the resulting line-out saw hooker Belcher bundle over from the base of a strong maul.

The clever grubber kicks continued to cause problems for the Irish province, and this time it was Dan Fish who found the space behind. Tom James was on hand to gather for Cardiff Blues’ third try of the afternoon, and his first of the campaign.

Connacht would pile the pressure towards the end of the half, looking for a score, but again the defence held firm, to see Wales’ Capital Region head in for the break with a 19-point lead.

The hosts came out firing in the opening stages of the second half, and a series of penalties gave them territory in the Cardiff Blues A 22.

Belcher would be sent to the sin bin, and the pressure finally told as Jonny Murphy crashed over for the home side’s first points of the game.

However, Rees’ side came up with the perfect response, after a Sion Bennett charge put them on the front foot. The next phase saw Fish once again finding space behind with the grubber, and this time it was Millard who picked up the loose possession to dive over the line.

However, the penalty count continued to go against the visitors, as Millard would become the third player to be sent to the sin bin, as he was penalised for a no-arm tackle.

The resulting penalty saw Murphy claim his second of the afternoon. The hosts almost broke for a quickfire double, making yards from their own 22, but the final pass was judged forward.

However, it was all Cardiff Blues from this point, who piled on the pressure on the Connacht try line, but couldn’t find a score to finish the game, with a Williams penalty attempt sailing wide.