RaboDirect PRO12: Munster crush Cardiff Blues at Thomond Park

Last Updated: 08/02/14 9:54pm

  • Share:

Sky Bet

Munster recorded their biggest win of the season with a 54-13 demolition job of Cardiff Blues which moved them seven points clear at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12.

The six-try victory came in the wake of Munster head coach Rob Penney announcing his decision to leave the Irish province at the end of the current campaign, and on the same day that Ireland beat Wales in the Six Nations.

It proved to be no distraction for his players as they carved open Cardiff in the second half, scoring three tries while Blues replacement prop Patrick Palmer was in the sin bin.

The Welsh region were only 19-13 behind at the break but that run of tries - Simon Zebo and Gerhard van den Heever added to a penalty try - put the hosts in full control.

With their bonus point secured, Munster added some late gloss as Andrew Conway and CJ Stander both went over, with out-half JJ Hanrahan brilliantly landing 10 kicks from as many attempts for a 24-point tally.

Despite the difficult wet conditions, Munster made a bright start with Thomond Park debutant Van den Heever threatening from a Hanrahan cross-field kick.

Hanrahan and Gareth Davies swapped penalties before direct running from captain and man-of-the-match James Coughlan took him close to the try-line, and Dave Kilcoyne plunged over from the ensuing ruck.

Hanrahan converted but the Blues answered back within three minutes, Harry Robinson countering from a loose kick and breaking free on the right wing to send centre Owen Williams over in the corner. Davies swung over a cracking conversion kick to bring the visitors level at 10-all.

Led the assault

Former Cardiff centre Casey Laulala and Johne Murphy led an assault down the right wing as Munster got back on course, with successive penalties following from Hanrahan's right boot.

The Blues continued to be economical without really threatening, picking up a penalty on the half hour which Davies slotted for 16-13.

However, the gap was out to six points after Hanrahan punished Cardiff skipper Sam Hobbs for not rolling away on the stroke of half-time.

The second half was rather listless until Munster put pressure on in the scrum and a series of indiscretions saw Palmer yellow-carded by referee Giuseppe Vivarini.

The resulting 60th-minute scrum, which included replacement Thomas Davies, was also dropped and Munster were awarded their penalty try which Hanrahan converted.

Full-back Zebo - keen to force his way back into the Ireland squad - then celebrated his first start since October with a well-taken try, following a final pass from Coughlan and a barnstorming run in the build-up from prop James Cronin.

Hanrahan booted the ball wide for South African Van den Heever to run in from the right for the bonus-point score, and the half-century was in sight after replacement Conway dribbled through and dived for try number five.

Television match official Seamus Flannery confirmed the grounding and he was also involved in the awarding of flanker Stander's injury-time try, a powerful drive and stretch for the line.

  • Share:

Related

RaboDirect Pro12 2013/14 R13

Sean Maitland: scored first of Glasgow's three tries

Warriors on the charge

Glasgow Warriors stretched their unbeaten run to five matches with a 27-9 win against Ulster.

John Cooney: Touched down Leinster's first try of the afternoon

Leinster reverse lapse start

Leinster remains hot on the heels of Munster in the RaboDirect Pro12 standings after a bonus point victory over Zebre.

Ruaridh Jackson kicked's Glasgow's winning penalty three minutes into the second half

Glasgow breeze past Connacht

Glasgow edged out a resilient Connacht 8-6 in blustery conditions to maintain their bid for a top-four finish.

Most Popular

Features

Eubank will help Mayweather

Eubank will help Mayweather

Chris Eubank Jr is heading to Vegas to help Floyd Mayweather's preparations for Manny Pacquiao.

Fielding targets Smiths

Fielding targets Smiths

Rocky Fielding wants an all-Liverpool scrap with Paul Smith and then his younger brother Callum.

Murray retains hope

Murray retains hope

Martin Murray still believes he can become a world champion despite defeat to Gennady Golovkin.