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Blues snatch last-gasp win


Joaquin Tuculet, pictured, scored twice for Cardiff Blues

Joaquin Tuculet, pictured, scored twice for Cardiff Blues

Joaquin Tuculet, pictured, scored twice for Cardiff Blues

A last minute try by Joaquin Tuculet converted by Rhys Patchell gave Cardiff Blues a nail-biting 18-17 win over Connacht at the Arms Park

Connacht had much the better of the first half and led 10-3 at the interval but they should have been much further ahead as they squandered a number of scoring opportunities which allowed Blues to remain in the game.

Connacht's tries came from Aly Muldowney and Jake Heenan, with Craig Ronaldson adding two conversions and penalty. Tuculet scored both Blues' tries with Patchell kicking two penalties and a conversion.

Connacht began strongly and showed their intent, only for Tiernan O'Halloran's try to be chalked off.

An enterprising run from wing Healy gained 45 metres for his side before Ronaldson then launched a cross field kick in the direction of O'Halloran, who touched down. The try was initially awarded only for the referee to reconsider with the TMO ruling that the Irish wing had impeded Patchell.

However the visitors were not to be denied for long with Heenan finishing off a line-out drive for the opening try which Ronaldson converted.

Connacht continued to be the better side as Blues were erratic in their passing and ball retention and it came as no surprise when the Irish went further ahead with a Ronaldson penalty after Sam Hobbs was penalised for offside.

Patchell put the Blues on the scoreboard with a penalty, but despite a couple of bad defensive errors from Connacht full-back Mils Muliaina, the hosts could not take any advantage and they still trailed 10-3 at the interval.

After the restart, Cardiff had their best period of the match. They put their opponents under severe pressure in their own 22 with better ball retention and fewer errors. Lloyd Williams just failed to force his way over as the TMO ruled the scrum-half was just short of the try-line.

Moments later, a neat Anscombe pass had Alex Cuthbert striding over unopposed but Gavin Evans was penalised for obstruction and the try was ruled out.

Despite this setback, Cuthbert was soon back in the action as he split the Irish defence with a tremendous run and it took an excellent cover tackle from Healy to bring him down.

Eventually Blues' domination was rewarded when Tuculet crossed in the corner for the try with Patchell off target with the conversion, before he succeeded with a penalty to put Blues in front for the first time with 15 minutes remaining.

Connacht struck back with Muldowney forcing his way over for the decisive try, which Ronaldson converted and looked to have secured victory, before a yellow card for Mick Kearney gave Blues the chance to pull off a dramatic win.