Disjointed display gives Connacht the Blues at wet and windy SportsgroundSeptember 4, 2012 - 7:00am
Cardiff Blues 13
The trick in sport is to put the horrendous, out-of-character days behind you and avoid over analysis but Saturday’s error prone display has to be cause for concern for Connacht’s ever growing band of followers.
A massive backline injury list notwithstanding, decision making, composure and set piece execution could each form a separate video session this week. Connacht lost out in the wind and rain to a Cardiff side that led 13-0 with the elements (although their points were more down to home mistakes than weather) and defended astutely during the second half to secure another win in Galway.
Teams like Cardiff really do make a mockery of their own pre-match talk when they say the Sportsground is a hard place to come and play. The hospitality on the field of play in terms of turnovers and gifted opportunities was noteworthy, and in keeping with the norm for a side that has won eight out of their nine games in the province since current league format was introduced. A home away from home, one could say.
Connacht have had no luck in terms of backline injuries – two scrum halves out, three centres and a certain Mr Parks at out-half who might not be the saviour in all scenarios, but surely would have relished these conditions and a game where territorial control was pivotal at ten. They were all missed here.
The pack largely did its job at scrum time, and in the area of forcing some key turnovers, but they were as much guilty as the backline for sloppy turnovers which meant they rarely built beyond four phases of play in the entire first half.
The high point came on 15 minutes when they forced a series of five metre scrums and probed the Cardiff line looking for a score. It never came, and two Miah Nikora missed penalties underlined the frustration. All the while, Ceri Sweeney was in the groove for Cardiff, kicking a couple of long range penalties to set the platform.
For more, read this week's Connacht Sentinel.