Connacht failed to halt the march of the Cardiff Blues last night at the Sportsground as they were defeated comprehensively by 26-12.
Despite having stuck with the same side that defeated Edinburgh two weeks ago Connacht coach Eric Elwood watched his side been dominated by a Cardiff who started the night off in fifth position and could not afford to lose this game.
The opening twenty minutes were as expected very physical with Cardiff looking to keep the pressure on the leaders of the Magners League and they went at Connacht with man of the match John Yapp in particular standing out for his physicality.
The main thorn in Connacht’s side was Scottish international Dan Parks who kicked four penalties and two conversions who’s measured display allowed the Blues to take control of the game. Parks and Connacht’s out half Ian Kealty exchanged penalties in the opening few minutes but it was Cardiff that scored the opening try of the game after some good play by the Cardiff softened up the Connacht rear guard and allowed Casey Laulala to go over in the 29thminute.
Keatly’s boot allowed Connacht to stay within touching distance of the Blues but the concession of a number of penalties stemmed any momentum that they were trying to build. Connacht played some nice rugby at times with Troy Nathan, Fionn Carr and Gavin Duffy all showing glimpses of what they can offer but it was only in small doses.
The second half was much similar in the fact that Connacht huffed and puffed but just could not get past the Cardiff white wash. Dan Parks was accurate with the boot and was always edging Cardiff ahead. Along with Parks, Wales internationals Jamie Roberts and Leigh Halfpenny always offered a threat and both carried and offloaded with aplomb which allowed Cardiff go forward ball and allowed them to expose Connacht and get over the gain line.
It was this type of pressure that allowed Cardiff to put the game to bed in the final ten minutes. Again some good work from their forwards allowed Bradley Davis, who was helped by some poor Connacht defending to score underneath the posts.
Man of the match John Yapp was thrilled with his sides performance “It was a really tough game and it was good that we came away with the result. We have three games left and we have given ourselves a chance of getting into the playoffs”