Mixed bag from Connacht enough to take the spoils


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Mixed bag from Connacht enough to take the spoils Mixed bag from Connacht enough to take the spoils

Cardiff 12

Connacht 16


CONNACHT coach Pete Wilkins has been around rugby long enough to know the ledger usually gets balanced throughout a long season so having been caught at the death when playing well against the likes of Edinburgh and Leinster earlier in the campaign, it was refreshing for his side to carve out a win when playing poorly at the Arms Park on Saturday.

Cardiff played with 14 men for most of the game and were down to 13 either side of the break, but Connacht laboured to put them away in heavy rain and a 12,000 strong home crowd, before the impact of their stronger bench secured a second URC win in a row and leaves them poised to repeat last season’s late run to the knockout stages.

Four of their next five fixtures are against teams currently below them in the league, but Wilkins knows they have plenty of homework to do from their first win in Cardiff in seven years if they are to push for a knockout place again.

“I think it will take a lot of analysis and the reason for that is that almost every element of our game from our kicking game to our set-piece, to our attack and to our defence, had some really positive moments, particularly in the second half,” said Wilkins.

“There was some quality especially considering the conditions we were playing in and the pressure Cardiff were putting us under.

“But there were also some very poor moments where we needed to be better and where we didn’t deliver in those game areas. One of the first things we talked about in the dressing room was the intensity of our defence, five metres out, ten metres out from our own line, compared to what we were like in the first half compared to how we came out at the start of the second half.

Pictured: Connacht’s Peter Dooley who scored their only try in Saturday’s hard-earned victory over Cardiff at the Arms Park. Inset: out half JJ Hanrahan who landed three penalties.

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