MATCH REPORT CONNACHT V BLUES
Rayer rues missed chances as Blues suffer cup defeat at Connacht With Thanks to Bedfordshire on Sunday, Written byDAN PALMER
Bedford Blues Director of Rugby Mike Rayer was left to rue wasted opportunities as his side came away with nothing from today’s British & Irish Cup clash at Connacht Eagles. The return fixture is this Saturday at Goldington Road with an EARLY 2pm Kick Off.
Rayer’s men made the journey across the Irish Sea to Galway but were beaten 17-8 and left without even a losing bonus point after a game they should have won.
It means they have won just one out of their three games in pool three so far and have it all to do at the half-way stage of the group stage if they hope to progress. Blues led 5-3 at half-time but the gap should have been a lot wider and they were made to pay after the break.
“Unless you take your chances it comes back to bite you and that’s exactly what happened,” said Rayer. “It’s tough to take, we should have been way out of sight. “Connacht, as all Irish sides do, hung in there and got their just desserts.” Bedford will have a quick chance for revenge as the Eagles visit Goldington Road on Saturday with an early 2pm Kick Off, but they will need to improve on a second half showing which saw the game slip away from them against the Pro 12 outfit’s second string. Connacht managed to cross for tries twice, more than cancelling out Brendan Burke’s score for Blues before half-time. “We were in control and we should have been a couple of scores ahead in the first half,” said Rayer. “We butchered our chances and we couldn’t get a foothold in the second half and fair play to Connacht, they gave us a lesson in finishing. “Our driving game was good but unfortunately we kept getting pulled down but we can’t control that. “I’m not sure what happened to the scrums, we seemed to get heavily penalised there. But it’s something you can’t control, interpretations of that area of the game are all up in the air at the moment.”
Connacht Eagles: S Layden; D Panter, C Finn (T Leader 74), B Murphy, S Macauley; J Carty (c), P O’Donohoe (C Blade 74); F Bealham, J Rael (D Heffernan 51), JP Cooney (P Reilly 68); D Nolan, D Qualter(U Dillane 51); A Browne, E Masterson, S O’Brien (C Kindregan 78).
Bedford Blues: M LeBourgeois; P Tapley, B Burke (J Sharp 56), O Dodge, J Short; M Atkinson, D Veenendaal (B Calder 76); D Fearn (N Steenkamp 56), C Clare (TJ Harris 71), P Boulton (T Gillardon 56); M Howard (B Gulliver 60), P Tupai (c); T Jubb (T Armes 60), M Hankin, N Fenton-Wells.
Connacht Eagles: D Heffernan, A Browne tries, J Carty 1 pen, 2 cons.
Bedford Blues: B Burke try, M Le Bourgeois 1 pen.
Referee: G Wells (SRU).