The home scrum provided fly-half Nick Robinson (18 points) with an excellent platform and the pace of the home side’s outside backs did the rest, despite a late Connacht comeback when Cardiff flanker Dan Baugh earned his second yellow card in as many games.
Against the run of play, Connacht opened the scoring. Scrum-half Chris Keane made yards through some woeful defending and backrower John O’Sullivan found himself in acres of space as he ran 20 metres untouched to score under the posts. Veteran Eric Elwood slotted the simplest of conversions.
Home fly-half Nick Robinson hit back with a penalty goal, and a skilful break from South African fullback Donavan van Vuuren gave inside centre Nick Macleod an overlap, and he showed strength to score in the corner – his second try in two games.
Connacht winger Conor McPhillips scored in the corner to keep his side in the match, but a clever inside pass from Nick Robinson set winger Dean Dewdney on his way, and another inside pass to centre Jamie Robinson gave him the space to score under the posts. His younger brother added the conversion and two penalty goals to give the Blues a 23-12 lead at the break.
Robinson extended the lead with his fourth penalty goal, and Connacht’s woes continued when No 8 Matt Lacey was yellow-carded for persistent infringing at the breakdown.
The extra man was crucial in the next phase, with van Vuuren’s inside pass finding Dewdney to score from close range, but he was nowhere to be found two minutes later when McPhillips scored his second try without a defender in sight.The Blues began to tire and take their big lead for granted, and their discipline problems returned to haunt the Arms Park side when Baugh was sin-binned for a professional foul.
But they held on to close out the victory, playing some exciting rugby in the closing minutes.