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Ahki stars as Connacht fall short

Cardiff Blues 36 Connacht 30

By John Fallon

Former New Zealand sevens star Pita Ahki made an instant impact for Connacht by scorching through to set up John Muldoon for a late try at the Arms Park to secure two bonus points.

It was no more than Kieran Keane's men deserved after an exciting contest with Connacht salvaging a couple of points just when it seemed they would leave Cardiff empty-handed.

Cardiff struggled to get out of their own half but the danger which they showed when winning 17-15 earlier this season was all too apparent as they surged 13-3 in front in a blistering eight-minute spell.

Jarrod Evans tapped over a penalty in front of the posts and then landed a touchline conversion. Another penalty by Evans put 10 points between them.

Carty converted and then landed a penalty from the left to tie the match but Cardiff went in leading by 16-13. Two decisions went against Connacht shortly after the restart. They pulverised the home pack in two five-metre scrums but then got pinged on the third put-in for wheeling it.

Cardiff broke down field and Connacht centre Eoin Griffin was harshly binned for a deliberate knock-on, with Matthew Morgan scoring shortly afterwards.

Shane Delahunt got over for the first of two tries when their forward dominance was made count. But Cardiff hit back with a try for debut winger Owen Lane to take a 30-18 lead going into the final 10 minutes.

Delahunt's second try after another good drive got Connacht within seven but they slipped outside bonus point territory when Anscombe landed a penalty from halfway.

But then Ahki announced his arrival with his massive break that led to the bonus point try in the dying moments.

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