Connacht Rugby has suffered their first defeat of the new RaboDirect PRO 12 season going down to Welsh side Cardiff Blues 9-13 at the Sportsground this evening.
A first half try from scrum-half Lewis Jones aided by the boot of out-half Ceri Sweeney helped Cardiff race into a 13-0 which Connacht failed to recoup for the remainder of the game.
Miah Nikora missed an early penalty on 12 minutes as Connacht took control of a game played in typical wet and windy Galway weather. As the half progressed a series of errors from the home side allowed the Blues back into the game and Sweeney gave them a surprise lead by kicking two penalties in eight minutes.
Further misery was heaped on Connacht on 29 minutes when Jones pounced on a loose ball and crashed over in the corner. Sweeney superbly converted from a tight angle and the Welsh side went in 13-0 ahead at half-time.
Connacht dominated possession and territory in the second period and Nikora kicked three penalties to bring it back to 9-13 but Connacht failed to get the elusive try that would have surely won them the game – handling errors effectively cost the home side the game.
Afterwards Head Coach Eric Elwood was bitterly disappointed by the loss. “We had majority of the possession, dominated territory but we failed to make it pay. Too many handling errors were caused and the lads are hurting down there, but we look to next week to make it right”.
Cardiff Blues coach Phil Davies was delighted with the win. “It’s very hard to come here to get a result, never mind a win and I’m really pleased with the guys performance”.
Connacht travel to Italy next week to take on the new boys Team Zebre.