Pro12: Connacht 24-24 Cardiff Blues
|Connacht (10) 24|
|Tries: Henshaw, Marmion, White Cons: Ronaldson 3|
|Cardiff Blues (10) 24|
|Tries: Thomas, Cook, Hobbs Cons: Patchell 3|
Cardiff Blues scored two late converted tries to snatch a draw against Connacht in the Pro12 encounter in Galway.
After the sides had been level at half-time, Connacht appeared set for victory as tries from Kieran Marmion and Nathan White helped them move 24-10 ahead.
But Macauley Cook's 70th-minute try gave Cardiff hope and late pressure saw Sam Hobbs touching down with Rhys Patchell levelling with the conversion.
An Adam Thomas try helped Blues lead early on before Robbie Henshaw's reply.
The visitors' fight-back ended a losing run of three games but Connacht will wonder how they failed to close out the game after looking in control midway through the second half.
Connacht's previous home game a fortnight ago had seen them shocking Leinster although their three-game winning start to the Pro12 was then ended last week as they were defeated in Glasgow.
Craig Ronaldson's penalty gave Connacht a sixth-minute lead but the home team's misfiring line-out then resulted in Blues pressure which culminated in full-back Thomas's 19th-minute try.
Patchell's break had forced Marmion to concede a five-metre scrum after the botched Connacht throw and Thomas barged through some weak tackling after a looping pass from scrum-half Lewis Jones.
Fly-half Patchell slotted the conversion to increase Blues' lead but Connacht were back in front by the 31st minute as Irish international prospect Henshaw stretched to score after Danie Poolman had been held up inches short of the Blues line.
Another Patchell kick levelled the contest on 47 minutes and Blues wasted a glorious chance to score a second try in first-half injury team as a dreadful pass saw them butchering a clear overlap.
Connacht were far more clinical two minutes after the restart as the in-form Marmion ghosted pass Dan Fish and Sam Warburton to score at the corner flag following Willie Faloon's charge off the base of a ruck.
Ronaldson nailed the difficult conversion and then repeated the dose four minutes later from the same spot after prop White had barged pass Lewis Jones to touch down.
But a number of midfield handling errors then led Connacht to begin to lose their way as Mark Hammett's side sensed that there might be a road back for them.
Blues pressure was finished off by Cook's close-range score 10 minutes from time with Patchell's conversion leaving only a converted try between the sides.
As Blues continued to produce all the pressure, replacement Hobbs managed to ground against one of the padded posts - although the television match official took some time to make his adjudication - and Patchell's routine conversion levelled the contest.
Connacht tried to set up a drop goal chance for fly-half Jack Carty from the restart but the effort was blocked as the home players were left deflated by their late collapse.
Connacht: Darragh Leader; Niyi Adeolokun, Robbie Henshaw, Craig Ronaldson, Danie Poolman; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Ronan Loughney, Dave Heffernan, Nathan White; Mick Kearney, Quinn Roux; John Muldoon (capt), Willie Faloon, Geroge Naoupu.
Replacements: Fionn Carr for Adeolokun 70, Shane Layden for Ronaldson 68, Ian Porter for Marmion 75, Denis Buckley for Loughney 47, Shane Delahunt for Heffernan 73, Rodney Ah You for White 56, Aly Muldowney for Roux 62, Eoin McKeon for Faloon 52
Cardiff Blues: Adam Thomas; Alex Cuthbert, Cory Allen, Gavin Evans, Dan Fish; Rhys Patchell, Lewis Jones; Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees (captain), Taufa'ao Filise; Jarrad Hoeata, Filo Paulo; Macauley Cook, Manoa Vosawai, Sam Warburton.
Replacements: Gareth Davies for Allen 74, Tavis Knoyle for L Jones 67, Sam Hobbs for G Jenkins 62, Kristian Dacey for Rees 75, Scott Andrews for Filise 51, Josh Navidi for Warburton 51, Josh Turnbull for Vosawai 64
Not Used: Walsh.
Referee: Neil Paterson (SRU)
Assistant referees: Andy Brace, John Carvill (both IRFU)
Citing Commissioner: John Cole (IRFU)
TMO: Dermot Moloney (IRFU)