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Dublin: 8°C Thursday 22 October 2020
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Cardiff prove too strong for Connacht as Friend's side lose in Wales

Cardiff Blues recorded a 29-7 win over Connacht tonight.

Image: Dougie Allward/INPHO
THIS WAS NOT the plan Andy Friend would have had in mind as his Connacht side never really got going against Cardiff this evening.
Connacht’s trip to Wales on the day of the game looked like it played a part as they were sluggish in the first half with the Blues scoring through Hallam Amos and the boot of fly-half Jarrod Evans.

Friend’s men failed to register a point before the break but did score through Conor Oliver in the second period.

They didn’t make the most of an opposition yellow card and Amos’ second was the game’s crucial score before a penalty try and a Kristian Dacey score gave the Blues a bonus point. The Blues looked certain to score in just the second minute as Matthew Morgan and Lloyd Williams raced clear, but the Welsh side gave away a penalty for illegally piling into the ruck.

Evans did kick an early penalty and Connacht lost prop Finlay Bealham early on as the Irish side started in reverse gear and saw their first attack repelled by strong Blues defence.

bundee-aki-comes-up-against-rey-lee-lo Bundee Aki goes on a charge. Source: Dougie Allward/INPHO

Ireland hooker Dave Heffernan was the next Connacht forward to limp from the field and his opposite number Kirby Myhill soon followed him to the sidelines.
There was plenty of endeavour from both sides, but also an inability to retain possession for long periods and a lack of cutting edge in attack.
Finally, the Blues broke through in the 36th minute and it was no surprise that when Josh Adams was involved, a try soon arrived. Morgan had started well and he made the initial break before finding Adams who passed inside to Amos who finished with ease. Evans converted.

It meant the Blues turned around 10-0 up and Connacht had it all to do.

At the start of the second half the Blues lost possession on their own line and Connacht had a series of reset scrums. Their forwards picked and went repeatedly, but once again couldn’t hold on to the ball and another golden opportunity was lost. Williams cleared the danger for the Blues.

Connacht still had all the field position and this time they used their line-out as they turned down kickable penalties. Blues prop Dillon Lewis was yellow carded for illegally trying to stop the set-piece, but the try had to come and it did when flanker Oliver dived over between the sticks.

Jack Carty converted, but with a man less the Blues struck a crucial blow as they broke away as Rey Lee-Lo made the crucial break and Amos finished off in the corner. Evans couldn’t convert, but the try was crucial as the Blues were then back up to a full 15 and an eight-point lead.

The Blues looked certain to grab a third try when they had a huge overlap out left. Kristian Dacey tried to find Amos for his hat-trick, but the ball was knocked down.
Referee Gianluca Gnecchi consulted the TMO who rightly awarded a penalty try and yellow carded Connacht wing Peter O’Sullivan for stopping what would have been a certain score with the deliberate knock on.

The automatic seven points and a man advantage for the Blues made the game safe and there was still time for Dacey to add gloss to the score with Jason Tovey converting.

Cardiff Blues: Morgan; Adams, Lee-Lo, Halaholo (Smith 69), Amos; Evans (Tovey 73), Williams (Jones 73); Domachowski (Carre59), Myhill (Dacey 25), Lewis (Arhip 66), Davies (Murphy 69), Hill (capt), Lewis-Hughes, Robinson (Arhip 59-66), Botham (Lawrence 71) 

Connacht: Porch; Sullivan, Aki, Arnold, Wootton; Carty (Fitzgerald 57), Marmion; Buckley (Duggan 66), Heffernan (Delahunt 18), Bealham (Aungier 9), Thornbury (Dillane 51), Roux, Masterson, Oliver (Boyle 66), Butler (capt) 

Replacements not used: Kerins, Daly 

SCORERS 

Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Amos 36, 63, Penalty 71, Dacey 75
Cons: Evans 36, Tovey 76
Penalty: Evans 7 

Connacht:
Try: Oliver 56
Cons: Carty 57 

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