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- Guinness PRO12
- 22nd Feb 2013
- KO 19:30
- Ground: Cardiff Arms Park
- Att: 5,236
RaboDirect Pro 12: Connacht win away in Cardiff for first time in tournament history
Two tries from flanker Willie Faloon helped Connacht claim a first-ever RaboDirect Pro 12 win away at the Cardiff Blues as they secured a 26-22 success.
The only previous occasion Connacht had won in the Welsh capital was in the pre-regional era, when current coach Eric Elwood kicked them to a 6-3 success over the Cardiff club side in 2001.
Despite Scotland international fly-half Dan Parks being ruled out just before kick-off, the Irish side started brilliantly and ran in two tries in the first five minutes.
Fast handling among the three-quarters saw captain Gavin Duffy join the line to send South African Danie Poolman speeding in at the flag, and before the Blues could gather themselves, wing Fetu'u Vainikolo put Faloon through some weak tackling to grab another.
As the home team began to get a foothold in the Connacht half, Rhys Patchell landed a long-range penalty and the fly-half was heavily involved, along with No 8 Robin Copeland, in a move which saw wing Harry Robinson dive in at the left-hand corner after 20 minutes. Patchell was off-target with the conversion.
Miah Nikora responded with a penalty when the Blues backs strayed offside but, despite some welcome adventure by both sides, there was no further score before the interval.
The Blues piled on the early pressure in the second period, but had to settle for a penalty by Patchell after Connacht hooker Jason Harris-Wright, in an offside position, impeded scrum-half Lewis Jones. The punishment was doubled when referee Dudley Phillips showed the guilty man a yellow card.
Patchell slotted over another penalty, but it was soon cancelled out by a similar effort from Nikora and when an aggressive Blues scrum allowed Patchell a further opportunity at goal the teenager pulled it wide.
The Arms Park crowd's disappointment was short-lived, however, as slight-of-hand by debutant replacement Liam Davies allowed Copeland to gallop over just before the hour mark, putting the Blues ahead for the first time.
However their lead was not to last, with Faloon darting over from a scrum for his second try four minutes later.
Patchell's fourth penalty cut the gap to a single point, but Connacht, sensing an upset, forced the Welsh region back into their own 22 and Nikora was able to add another three points following a Blues infringement to seal the win.
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Guinness PRO12 Table
|Thursday 1st January|
|14:05||Dragons vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 10th January|
|14:40||Cardiff Blues vs Leinster|
|Wednesday 14th January|
|TBC||Munster vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 17th January|
|European Rugby Challenge Cup|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Rovigo|
|Saturday 24th January|
|TBC||Grenoble vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 31st January|
|15:00||Wasps vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Cardiff Blues vs Leicester|
|Saturday 21st February|
|TBC||Benetton Treviso vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 28th February|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Edinburgh|
|Saturday 7th March|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Connacht|
|Saturday 28th March|
|TBC||Ulster vs Cardiff Blues|
|Friday 26th December|
|Cardiff Blues 17 - 23 Dragons|
|Friday 19th December|
|Cardiff Blues 21 - 9 Scarlets|
|Saturday 13th December|
|European Rugby Challenge Cup|
|London Irish 34 - 23 Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 6th December|
|Cardiff Blues 24 - 14 London Irish|
|Friday 28th November|
|Cardiff Blues 36 - 25 Treviso|
|Sunday 23rd November|
|Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff Blues|
|Friday 14th November|
|Cardiff Blues 19 - 13 Scarlets|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com