Pro12: Cardiff Blues 13-19 Connacht

Kristian Dacey
Kristian Dacey of Cardiff Blues is tackled by James Cannon and JP Cooney of Connacht
Guinness Pro12
Cardiff Blues (13) 13
Tries: Nick Williams Cons: Anscombe Pens: Anscombe 2
Connacht (7) 19
Tries: Healy Cons: Cooney Pens: Cooney 2 Ronaldson Drop goal: O'Halloran

Connacht came from behind to beat Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park to complete a Pro12 double over the Welsh region thanks to some composed kicking.

A late drop goal from Tiernan O'Halloran broke the deadlock in a tight contest on 77 minutes.

Craig Ronaldson then hammered over a long range penalty to seal the victory.

Blues had led at half-time 13-7 but at one stage were in front 13-0, with Gareth Anscombe scoring two penalties and converting Nick Williams' try.

Williams' try owed a debt to centre Willis Halaholo, who had only started in that position following the late withdrawal of Steve Shingler. Halaholo powered his way past several Connacht defenders, before Williams completed the score.

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Pro12 highlights: Cardiff Blues 13-19 Connacht

However, the visitors showed resolve to get back into things and created a fine opening for Matt Healy to go over the gain line, with JP Cooney adding a tough conversion.

Cooney slotted over two penalties in the second half - the second from a huge distance - as an entertaining contest became level at 13-13.

The visitors looked the more likely victors and carved Blues apart with five minutes remaining, but Healy could not hold onto the ball as he looked likely to score.

Jack Carty then missed with a drop goal attempt, but O'Halloran made no mistake two minutes later to edge Connacht ahead.

Ronaldson's penalty from almost halfway then rubber-stamped the victory for the Pro12 champions.

Cardiff Blues coach Danny Wilson told Clwb Rygbi: "I am very frustrated.

"In the second half we didn't manage to score with the little possession we had and the if I am honest, we had to do a lot of defending.

"Connacht were excellent over the ball and we couldn't get enough tempo into the game.

"We have to look hard at ourselves. It is not good enough to lose at home, especially in a game we should have at least drawn.

"Our defending at the end was poor and now to do anything, we need to win our next three games, in my opinion."

Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Blaine Scully, Rey Lee-Lo, Steve Shingler, Rhun Williams; Gareth Anscombe, Lloyd Williams (captain); Rhys Gill, Kristian Dacey, Anton Peikrishvili, Jarrad Hoeata, James Down, Macauley Cook, Josh Navidi, Nick Williams

Replacements: Matthew Rees, Marc Thomas, Scott Andrews, Seb Davies, Sion Bennett, Tomos Williams, Willis Halaholo, Tom James

Connacht: Tiernan O'Halloran, Niyi Adeolokun, Stacey Ili, Craig Ronaldson, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, John Cooney; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, JP Cooney, Quinn Roux, James Cannon, Sean O'Brien, Jake Heenan, John Muldoon (captain)

Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Ronan Loughney, John Andress, Naulia Dawai, Nepia Fox-Matamua, Caolin Blade, Tom Farrell, Danie Poolman