On that occasion in 2001, current Connacht coach Eric Elwood was the hero, kicking the two winning penalties on a miserable night, but this time it was Cardiff’s Ben Blair who took that mantle, kicking 17 of the home side’s 22 points on a perfect night for running rugby.
The home side had taken a slender 12-10 lead at the break, all through Blair’s boot, and then pushed on in the second half, forcing Connacht to defend before taking their try chance, despite a knock-on from Martyn Williams in the lead-up.
Tiernan O’Halloran had put Connacht briefly ahead with a well-worked try but the home side took advantage of a 7-1 penalty count to go in at the break leading.
Blair added three more points at the start of the second half, before O’Connor hit back with a kick of his own.
The Blues stepped up a gear in the last quarter and although Williams knocked-on when punching a hole through the cover, Cardiff battled the way to the line before prop Sam Hobbs dived over.
Blair added the conversion and from a three-point lead at the break, the home side were in the driving seat, extending the lead to 22-10.
But Connacht never gave up and earned their bonus point when O’Halloran ran nearly the length of the pitch before finding replacement scrum-half Dave Moore with an inside pass to finish off. Matthew Jarvis missed the conversion.
Scorers for Cardiff: Try: Hobbs. Con: Blair. Pens: Blair 5. Scorers for Connacht: Tries: O’Halloran, Moore. Con: N O’Connor. Pen: N O’Connor.CARDIFF BLUES: B Blair, R Mustoe, T James, C Laulala, C Czekaj, C Sweeney, R Rees, J Yapp, R Thomas, S Hobbs, M Paterson, P Tito (capt), M Molitika, M Williams, X Rush.
Replacements: G Davies for Laulala 37, R Tyrell for Thomas 48, C Hill for Molitika 59, R Harford for Hobbs 60, M Cook for Yapp 67.
CONNACHT: G Duffy (capt); F Vainikolo, K Tonetti, D McSharry, T O’Halloran; N O’Connor, P O’Donohoe; B Wilkinson, A Flavin, R Loughney, M Swift, M McCarthy, J Muldoon, R Ofisa, G Naoupu.
Replacements: D Gannon for Ofisa 24, H Fa’afili for McSharry 45, E Reynecke for Flavin 55, D Moore for O’Donohoe and M Jarvis for O’Connor 60, D Buckley for Wilkinson and M Kearney for Naoupu 66.
Referee: A McMenamy (Scotland).
RaboDirect Pro12 result: Edinburgh 14 Ospreys 15.