Pat Lam’s Connacht team suffered their first defeat of the new campaign in Cardiff as Welsh kicker Rhys Patchell kicked 6 penalties and a drop goal to give the Cardiff Blues a 21-10 win.
Connacht scored to only try of the game when Matt Healy crossed the try line which Parks converted before adding a penalty but Connacht’s failure to trouble the scoreboard in the second half cost them dearly.
The game began with uncharacteristic mistakes from Parks. The Scotsman’s kickoff went straight out of touch before he dropped a penalty just short of the posts in the third minute. Matt Healy was sent over for the first score of the game when Kieran Marmion spotted a gap. The try was converted by Parks before Patchell got a chance to impress with his kicking prowess. The young Welshman kicked two penalties and a drop goal for the Blues before Parks edged the Connacht men back in front at the end of the first half.
Patchell restored Cardiff’s slim lead after an impressive start for the Welshmen in the second half. Returning Lion Alex Cuthbert then broke the Connacht defensive line before feeding Tom Williams but the away team’s defence did well to usher Tom Williams out over the touchline. Patchell and Parks then both failed from the kicking tee before Patchell again found his range to send his 4th of the night over to give the Blues a 5 point lead. Another followed from Patchell before a late yellow for Rodney Ah You resulted in Patchell kicking his 6th and final penalty of the night.
In a game which was dominated by kicking from the hand and tee there was little for the crowd of almost 7000 to cheer but the home fans will be happy to have secured their first win of the RaboDirect season. Pat Lam will hope there are better nights ahead for his Connacht team.
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