Dewdney comes to Blues' rescue

Connacht 8 Cardiff Blues 18
Click to follow
The Independent Online

The ghosts of Cardiff Arms Park can rest easy for a little longer as David Young's Blues team finally produced a gutsy performance worthy of the club's famous name.

The ghosts of Cardiff Arms Park can rest easy for a little longer as David Young's Blues team finally produced a gutsy performance worthy of the club's famous name.

Despite their proud history of beating all the major touring nations, Cardiff's standing in world rugby has taken a battering in recent years, never more so than in Europe.

Yet against Connacht, in Galway, Cardiff knew that defeat would leave them facing a mountain to climb to reach the newly conceived play-off for the last spot in next season's Heineken Cup. For the former greats of a formerly great club, the fall from grace would have been complete.

"The pressure was on us, as it has been all year, but we never thought about what losing would have meant," said Young, the Blues head coach. "I was very proud of the way the boys responded. We're now getting the rewards for all our efforts and hard work."

It was nevertheless ironic that with the reputation of one of the biggest names in world rugby, a little-known Zimbabwean should come to the rescue at the most unlikeliest of venues.

Dean Dewdney, their third-choice scrum-half-cum-wing, has filled in here or there this season amid a crippling injury crisis that has left them shorn of genuine match-winners. The art of victory has thus not come easily this season for the Cardiff Blues.

Yet when the chips were down on the windswept west coast of Ireland, it was fitting that a player who has rolled up his sleeves and mucked in all term, should prove to be their salvation.

Dewdney scored two tries, the first created by the stand-in captain, Tom Shanklin, the second a virtuoso effort, to secure a desperately needed away win, given that the teams either side of them in the Celtic League table won as well.

Cardiff are now only a point behind Connacht in the race for the play-off. Though with Llanelli Scarlets losing 23-0 to Edinburgh at the weekend, they may yet even avoid that ignominy.

"Winning was crucial for us but the fact that it was Connacht was not the be all and end all for us," Young said. "We're now only a few points behind Llanelli with six games left to play, including one against them, so that has to be the target now."

James Downey put Connacht ahead after only 67 seconds after a kick-ahead by Paul Warwick, who also added a penalty. But Dewdney went over in each half while Nick MacLeod added the points with the boot.

Connacht: Try J Downey; Penalty P Warwick. Cardiff Blues: Tries D Dewdney 2; Conversion N MacLeod; Penalties N MacLeod 2.

Connacht: M Mostyn; C McPhillips, D Yapp, J Downey (M McHugh, 28), T Robinson (D Sleman, 58); P Warwick, C Keane; R Hogan (D McFarland, 61), B Jackman (J Fogarty, 65), S Knoop , C Short, A Farley, J Muldoon (M Swift, 74), J O'Sullivan, M Lacey.

Cardiff Blues: C Morgan; J Vaughton, T Shanklin (capt), T Davies (J Bryant, 72), D Dewdney; N MacLeod, R Powell; J Yapp (M Jones, 79), R Thomas, G Jenkins, D Jones, R Sidoli, N Thomas (M Molitika, 72), K Schubert, R Sowden-Taylor.

Referee: M Changleng (Scotland).

Comments