Cardiff Blues 17
Cantankerous is probably the best way of describing Kieran Keane after this latest Connacht misstep. Grouchy, grumpy, tetchy or testy might also work. He’s a unique individual and could hardly be any less like Pat Lam if he tried. The new era is well and truly up and running and it has started in reverse.
A last-gasp try from Will Halaholo helped Cardiff snatch victory from the jaws of defeat at the Sportsground on Saturday and the subsequent final whistle a minute later was met with jolting wall of silence from the home support. It’s probably far too soon for flat-out anger, but the disdain for the effort they had witnessed was palpable.
No one can act surprised, though, at this third loss in four games. Based on the three previous outings, this was always on the cards. Everything on display here has been evident in the defeats to the Dragons and Glasgow and the sub-par effort against the Kings.
Connacht lack discipline, purpose and accuracy at the moment. Players seem to be demotivated and distracted. The individual effort might be there in patches, but the collective effort is conspicuous by its absence. The result is a team misfiring in possession, one that is slow to take chances and prone to self-destruction at key moments.
The wind howled at the backs of the men in green in the first half and they started with gusto, seemingly in reaction to the abject display in Newport the previous weekend. Wave upon wave of attacks had Cardiff under pressure in their own 22 and seemed set to yield the game’s opening try.
Yet by the 17 minute mark the scoreboard read just 3-0, Craig Ronaldson’s penalty all that the westerners had to show for their efforts. Multiple attacks had broken down in the 22. The back three were not sparking; the centre partnership on different wavelengths; and the pack losing out to a rampant back row from the Blues.
Josh Navidi, Josh Turnbull and Nick Williams were dominating their opponents; and their second rows Damien Welsh and young Seb Davies, had a field day too, with big carries, lineout disruptions and plenty of bone crunching tackles during a half where they defended stoically against the elements.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.