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Late Boyle try means Connacht make do with losing bonus point against gutsy Cardiff

The replacement back row’s late try ensured the Irish province left Wales with a losing bonus point.

Cardiff Blues 8

Connacht 7

Steffan Thomas reports from Cardiff Arms Park

CONNACHT HAD TO make do with a losing bonus point as they slipped a disappointing defeat to the Cardiff Blues in Wales.

A stunning first half try from young wing prospect Owen Lane plus three points from the boot of outside half Steven Shingler was enough to secure the win.

Replacement back row Paul Boyle ensured Connacht left Wales with a losing bonus point as he crossed for a late try.

James Cannon Connacht's James Cannon in action on Saturday. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The visitors had plenty of opportunities to win the game but fell foul to numerous unforced errors which undermined their efforts.

Connacht fell behind early on with out-half Shingler successful with a penalty from 30 metres out after the visitors were penalised for not releasing at the breakdown.

But Friend’s side came back strongly as they attacked the Blues line with a series of powerful driving lineouts forcing their hosts to give away numerous penalties. Finally, the referee lost his patience and opted to send Cardiff loose-head Brad Thyer to the sin bin for his part in illegally bringing down a maul.

But Connacht messed up the proceeding scrum with Tom Daly fumbling the ball forward. The Blues were then reduced to 13 men with former Munster and Ulster No 8 Nick Williams joining Thyer in the sin bin after a reckless late hit on Finlay Bealham.

Dmitri Arhip and Olly Robinson tackle Cillian Gallagher Cardiff's Dmitri Arhip and Olly Robinson tackle Cillian Gallagher. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Cardiff started the second-half like a house on fire with Harri Millard cutting the Connacht defence open before offloading to Williams. The scrum half was brought down just short of the line but Connacht No 8 Jarrad Butler saved his side with a brilliant turnover.

Connacht ensured a grandstand finish when replacement Boyle crashed over from short range after a period of sustained pressure from the hosts.

Fitzgerald nailed the conversion making it a one-point game going into the final three minutes. The visitors pushed hard in the dying stages of the match but the Blues stayed firm to record an important victory.

Cardiff Blues: M Morgan (D Fish 13); O Lane, H Millard (G Smith 68), R Lee-Lo, A Summerhill; S Shingler, L Williams; B Thyer (R Carre 51), K Dacey (L Belcher 68), D Arhip (S Andrews 63), G Earle (M Cook 63), R Thornton, S Lewis-Hughes (R Carre 18-28) (J Botham 72), O Robinson, N Williams.

Replacements not used: L Jones.

Connacht: T O’Halloran; C Kelleher, K Godwin, T Daly, M Healey (S Fitzgerald 63); D Horwitz (C Fitzgerald 45), J Mitchell (A Lloyd 49); D Buckley (M Burke 63), D Heffernan (T McCartney 51), F Bealham (D Robertson-McCoy 63), J Cannon (J Makysymiw 69), C Gallagher, E McKeon (P Boyle 60), C Fainga’a, J Butler.

Replacements not used: D McCoy

Scorers:

Cardiff Blues

Tries: O Lane 26

Conversions:

Penalties: S Shingler 12

Connacht

Tries: P Boyle 75

Conversions: S Fitzgerald 76

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