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Dublin: 8 °C Saturday 15 December, 2018

Connacht continue impressive start with thrilling victory over Cardiff

Pat Lam’s men picked up five points in an entertaining game at the Sportsground.

Connacht's Kieran Marmion scores their opening try.
Connacht's Kieran Marmion scores their opening try.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Connacht 36

Cardiff Blues 31

By John Fallon at the Sportsground

CONNACHT SECURED ONLY their second win in a dozen games against Cardiff Blues in a cracking contest at the Sportsground.

Pat Lam’s men picked up five points to continue their impressive start to the season.

But they will be kicking themselves for letting Cardiff Blues in for a try with the last play of the game, which netted a couple of bonus points for the Welsh.

Connacht also gifted them the opening try when winger Aled Summerhill intercepted a loose pass from Tom Cartney to score from his own half after seven minutes.

But Kieran Marmion, so close to being in Joe Schmidt’s World Cup squad, led the Connacht response when he sniped over.

His grubber was responsible for setting up the lineout, which led to flanker Nepia Fox-Matamua scoring in the right corner.

It was the third game in a row that the new signing from Auckland Blues touched down.

Not to be outdone, South African Danie Poolman also maintained his try-a-game run when he pushed Connacht 19-7 in front after just 27 minutes.

But Connacht fell asleep after that and Josh Turnbull’s try helped cut the gap to 19-17 by half-time.

Dan Fish hacked ahead three times to score nine minutes after the restart and put Cardiff back in front at 24-19 after 49 minutes.

But Pat Lam’s men took over from there. Tiernan O’Halloran secured the bonus point when he collected Jack Carty’s chip after 58 minutes and Aly Muldowney wrapped it up six minutes later as Connacht took their try haul to a dozen in three games.

However, Cardiff secured a couple of points when prop Sam Hobbs got over in the final play.

Scorers- Connacht: Tries: K Marmion, N Fox-Matamua, D Poolman, T O’Halloran, A Muldowney. Cons: J Carty (4). Pen: Carty.

Cardiff Blues: Tries: A Summerhill, J Turnbull, D Fish, S Hobbs. Cons: R Patchell (3), G Davies. Pen: Patchell.

Connacht: T O’Halloran; D Poolman (F Carr 64), R Parata (C Ronadlson 78), B Aki, M Healy; J Carty, K Marmion (J Cooney 56); D Buckley (C O’Donnell 80), T McCartney (D Heffernan 72), F Bealham (JP Cooney 80); Q Roux (A Muldowney 52), A Browne (G Naoupu 80); J Muldoon, N Fox-Matamua, E McKeon.

Cardiff Blues: D Fish (G Davies 60), A Summerhill (G Smith 20), T Isaacs, G Evans, R Smith, R Patchell, T Knoyle (L Jones 72); S Hobbs, K Dacey (M Rees 72), C Mitchell, J Hoeata (J Down 64), L Reed, J Navidi, E Jenkins (M Vosawai 75), J Turnbull.

Referee: N Hennessy (WRU).

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John Fallon

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