No reward for Connacht's efforts
The brilliance of All Black Casey Laulala was the main driving force behind Cardiff Blues' 22-6 defeat of Connacht last night to rise to the top of the Magners League, albeit only on points difference from Munster.
Man of the Match Laulala was the only Blues attacker capable of breaking down Connacht's organised defence with a superb individual try as Dan Parks posted 14 points from the boot.
Cardiff coach Dai Young was quick to see the flaws from his own players, saying: "It shows how far we've come that we can play really poorly and still win."
Typically, this ignored the valuable contribution of Connacht, who, once again, displayed their durability in front of the 11,000-plus crowd at Cardiff City Stadium.
Not for the first time, former Leinster Academy wing Fionn Carr was their brightest star in attack. He was a threat every time he touched the ball. Out-half Ian Keatley's first penalty, in the fifth minute, was overtaken by two from Parks in the seventh and 15th minutes and a drop goal in the 21st in advance of Laulala's intervention, a swift change of direction wrong-footing two defenders.
Connacht could have folded as they have done in the past on their travels, but they stayed in the game until a third Parks penalty and another from distance by Leigh Halfpenny concluded the evening.