CONNACHT 8 CARDIFF BLUES 18 Dean Dewdney threw Cardiff Blues an invaluable Heineken Cup lifeline as he raced in for two tries to give his side their first away win of the season in the Celtic League. The Blues had notched six successive defeats on the road since drawing 9-9 on the opening day of the season in Dublin and hadn't won on the road in Ireland since last March before this game. And with Connacht only four points clear of them in the Celtic League table then it was little wonder that Blues coach Dai Young had targetted this game three weeks ago as a must win match.
In the end, his policy of resting key players in the last two rounds of European games paid dividends as his players came up with the win they needed to stay in the hunt for at least a play-off place for the final position in next season's Heineken Cup.
It may not have been pretty, and it was hardly convincing, but Connacht are a tough nut to crack on their own patch and this victory will give the Arms Park outfit the boost they need going into two vital successive home games against Edinburgh and Munster.
Vaughton ran in a try in each half and outside half Nick Macleod did the rest with his boot as he added eight points. But it could all have been so different had the home side been able to build on their dream start. Connacht struck after only 65 seconds when centre James Downey latched on to outside half Paul Warwick's neat kick through to bag the game's opening try.
Warwick failed with the conversion in the most controversial of circumstances as Scottish referee Malcolm Chalgleng allowed Nathan Thomas to charge and kick the ball of f the tee, adjudging the bemused Warwick had begun his run-up. Vaughton's try, inspired by a midfield break from Wales centre Tom Shanklin, levelled matters before Warwick added a penalty to give the Irishmen a slender 8-5 interval lead.
Macleod's first penalty success 15 minutes after the break gave a revived Blues side the lift they needed and then Vaughton struck again after 69 minutes with a kick and chase score. Macleod added the extra points and then made the game safe with his second penalty three minutes from time. It was the Blues' first win in Ireland since last March and it couldn't have come at a better time.
Scorers: Connacht: Try: J Downey; Pen: P Warwick
Cardiff Blues: Tries: J Vaughton 2; Con: N Macleod; Pens: N Macleod 2
How do you follow a dancing hippopotamus - the Ospreys wheelchair rugby team has just the 'oneness' to do it say the BBC! For a decade the sight of a herd of hippos synchronised swimming around their own private blue lagoon, has lit up our television screens at regular intervals between favourite BBC One shows. But now the nation's most watched channel has relinquished its famous amphibious mammals in favour of a new show-reel which includes the Ospreys wheelchair rugby team.
Head coach Rowland Phillips and key front rower Carys Phillips look ahead to games against Spain and Ireland as Wales Women ramp up their preparations for the forthcoming Six Nations. The two warm-up games are a 'massive opportunity to refine the squad' according to the Welsh camp.
Martyn Phillips has discussed details of the newly published 'Strategy for Welsh Rugby' which puts in black and white terms the plans and direction of the governing body of the national sport in Wales for the next decade.
WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips has urged Welsh rugby fans to follow in the footsteps of their soccer counterparts at last summer's Euro Championship by backing their team to the hilt in the upcoming RBS 6 Nations campaign.
Chief executive Martyn Phillips has highlighted the plans for Wales to become a breeding ground for national and elite club rugby coaches, which are contained in the WRU's 10-year 'Strategy for Welsh Rugby'.
Andrew Coombs is enjoying his new role as Nelson forwards coach. The former Dragons and Wales lock has big ambitions to become a professional coach but feels it's important to learn the ropes in grassroots rugby and where better than his home club Nelson, with friends and family close to hand.
Students at Brynllywarch Hall School, near Newtown, have transformed their own lives, and are now having a positive impact on others through rugby. The sport has had a life-changing effect on the well-being of the students who are now delivering rugby sessions to local primary schools and playing for a new mixed ability side
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When the Wales squad were asked to nominate individuals who played a big part in their early playing days, Wales and Dragons full back and wing Hallam Amos thought of his former Monmouth School rugby coach John Bevan.
Sam Cross and Luke Treharne have been named as co-captains of the Wales Sevens side as head coach Gareth Williams names his 12-man squad to play in the first leg of the HSBC World Series in Dubai next weekend.
Bedwas head coach Steve Law and players Nicky Griffiths and Alun Rees extol the virtues of the close knit club as they prepare to host third place RGC 1404 - who are one place head of them on the Principality Premiership points table - on Saturday.
Many of the Wales squad have said Diolch (thank you) to someone who played an important part in their early playing days by nominating them to be invited to the Wales v South Africa match. One person, Gowerton Comprehensive geography teacher Mr Dean Mason was nominated by two of his former pupils, Dan Biggar and Sam Davies.