Sport Rugby

Saturday 17 March 2018

Patchell puts the boot in as Connacht fail to capitalise on Healy try

Cardiff Blues 21 Connacht 10

Matt Healy, Connacht, on his way to scoring his side's first try
Matt Healy, Connacht, on his way to scoring his side's first try

An early Matt Healy try was not enough as Rhys Patchell put the boot to Connacht in south Wales.

The Ireland U-20 wing maintained his try-scoring start to the season, following last week's score against Zebre, as he became the first player to cross the whitewash in a competitive fixture on the Arms Park's artificial pitch.

But it was not enough as Patchell edged his kicking dual with former Cardiff fly-half Dan Parks to hand the hosts their first win this term.

Pat Lam made two changes to the side that kicked-off the Pro12 campaign with a win over Zebre. Gavin Duffy returned to full-back, while Tiernan O'Halloran moved up from the bench.

The clash was John Muldoon's 200th appearance but he had little cause to celebrate despite a dogged display.

It was the first Pro12 encounter to be staged on an artificial surface following the installation of a 4G pitch. But despite the carpet-like surface it was not a night for running rugby, with incessant driving rain.

Parks missed an early penalty opportunity after Cardiff were penalised at scrum time but Patchell was equally wasteful in front of goal, with an early effort striking the right upright.


Connacht did, however, take the lead after Kieran Marmion sniped through the Blues defence after a Robbie Henshaw charge. The scrum-half had the Blues scrambling and expertly offloaded for Healy to dart over.

Parks nailed the conversion before Patchell made it third time lucky with the boot to cut Connacht's lead to 7-3.

The home fly-half continued to chip away with a penalty and he then slotted a drop-goal shortly after the half-hour mark to hand the hosts the lead for the first time.

But Parks hit back on the stroke of half-time to ensure Connacht led by a point at the break.

Patchell put the Blues back in front on 52 minutes before Parks squandered a golden opportunity to edge Connacht ahead with a straight-forward shot at goal.

Moments later the home fly-half combined with Owen Williams to carve open Connacht but O'Halloran intercepted a would-be try-scoring pass. Patchell made amends from wide with his fourth penalty of the night and he put the result beyond doubt with a pair of penalties in the closing stages.

Cardiff Blues – T Williams (H Robinson 67); A Cuthbert, O Williams, D Hewitt (G Evans 50), H Robinson (G Davies 58,); R Patchell, L Williams (L Jones 79); T Filise (S Hobbs 79), M Rees (c) (K Dacey 78), S Andrews (B Bourrust 50), B Davies (L Reed 61), F Paulo, A Pretorius, J Navidi, R Copeland (M Cook 50).

Connacht – G Duffy; T O'Halloran, R Henshaw, E Griffin, M Healy (D Poolman 63); D Parks (C Ronaldson 75), K Marmion (P O'Donohoe 61); B Wilkinson (R Ah You 55), J Harris-Wright, N White (R Loughney 72), M Swift (capt), A Browne (A Muldowney 55), J Muldoon, W Faloon (J Heenan 54), G Naoupu

Ref – C Blessano (FIR)

Irish Independent

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