Joaquin Tuculet scored both tries for Cardiff Blues. Craig Thomas/INPHO

Late Cardiff try gives Connacht the Blues

Joaquin Tuculet’s score at the finish helped the Welsh side to a one-point win.

Cardiff Blues 18
Connacht 17

IT WAS A heartbreaking night for Connacht in Cardiff as they saw victory stolen from them with the final play of the game.

With the Irish province leading by six points in the dying seconds, Argentine wing Joaquin Tuculet scored his second try of the game which was converted by Rhys Patchell to deny the visitors a third consecutive Guinness Pro12 win.

Connacht looked to have opened the scoring after ten minutes when Rhys Patchell fumbled a high, hanging Craig Ronaldson kick and Tiernan O’Halloran pounced on the ball but the TMO ruled it out for an earlier knock on.

The maul has been a real weapon for Pat Lam’s side in the last two weeks and they chose to use it moments later, with Jake Heenan crashing over after a powerful drive from the Connacht pack.

Much like Connacht’s game last week, there was plenty of running rugby on show and John Cooney was particularly lively at scrum-half, sniping successfully on a number of occasions.

However, despite good counter-attacking play by both sides, the only other scores in the opening half were a penalty apiece from Ronaldson and Patchell.

Connacht did threaten the home side’s line right before the half-time whistle, but Cooney knocked on at a ruck after a nice break from Mick Kearney and another opportunity was thwarted by strong Cardiff tackling.

Sixteen minutes into the second half, Joaquin Tuculet crossed for his first try, but Patchell failed with the conversion so Connnacht remained in the ascendancy with a two-point lead.

But the home side were now on top and they edged ahead in the 64th minute thanks to a penalty from Patchell. However, not for the first time this season, Connacht showed their resolve and went back in front thanks to Aly Muldowney’s 70th-minute try, which Ronaldson converted to increase the gap to six points.

It looked like Pat Lam’s men were set to hold on for a crucial win, but they had to endure eight minutes of extra time which ended when Tuculet found his way through Connacht’s stretched defence to score his second try, and Patchell added the extras to seal the win.

‘People ask me if I’d like to go professional. I would but we’re not there yet, we’re a good bit off’

A former Ireland international has been tasked with maintaining Ulster’s production line

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