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
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Sat 14 Nov: Blues Premiership Select v Nottingham (2.30) & Connacht Eagles v Dragons (2.30)
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WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
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