A huge crowd of 11,269 supporters turned up to watch the Blues keep their Magners League title hopes alive at the first Cardiff Blues Regional Clubs Day. Match report to follow.
Cardiff Blues 25 Munster 22
Saturday 1 March 5 30pm kick off, Cardiff Arms Park
A huge crowd of 11,269 supporters turned up to watch the Blues keep their Magners League title hopes alive for the first Cardiff Blues Regional Clubs Day.
Munster got off to a great start when in the opening minute Paul Warwick put in a speculative kick that Shaun Payne chased and scored in the corner. Warwick added the conversion despite the swirling wind.
Munster were applying pressure and keeping the Blues pinned back in their half but a strong run from Jamie Roberts down the right wing resulted in a penalty that Ben Blair converted.
A tussle between Tony Buckley and John Yapp resulted in another Blues penalty but young outside-half Rhys Jones kicked just wide.
Minutes later Jones showed his skills slipping the ball to Jamie Robinson that saw the centre cut through defence, ably supported by Gareth Thomas who drove all the way to the try line. From the ruck the Blues spread the ball wide to T Rhys Thomas who crashed over for a try to give the Blues the lead.
The try seemed to give the home team confidence and the next move saw them offloading in tackles and working their way into the Munster twenty two, however the Irishmen cleared well.
Eventually Munster were awarded a penalty for the Blues not rolling away and this time Warwick hit the post and in, to put the visitors back in the lead.
The Blues nearly re took the lead when a superb break by Richard Rees, breaking two tackles and feeding Tal Selley inside, nearly saw the winger touching down in the corner.
HALF TIME CARDIFF BLUES 8 MUNSTER 10
The Blues got off to a bad start once again when Blair kicked straight into touch from the whistle. Munster were then awarded another penalty in front of posts and Peter Stringer took it quickly. Eventually Tony Buckley forced his way over in the corner but Warwick missed with the conversion.
The Blues were awarded a penalty that Blair converted to bring the score to 11-15. Lifemi Mafi looked dangerous in midfield cutting through some weak tackling and Munster scored their third try when OConnell touched down in the corner. Warwick got the difficult conversion to make it 11-22 with 20 minutes to go.
The Blues did attack well but Munsters defence was again solid. An excellent break by Gareth Thomas in midfield with Xavier Rush on his shoulder gave the Blues a timely boost.
Minutes later they fed the ball out to the wing and Jamie Roberts dragged three men over the try line to score. Blair added the conversion to make it 18-22 and ensure a tense final five minutes to the match.
Xavier Rush chipped Doug Howlett and sprinted for the line but the Kiwi wing was too quick for the Kiwi number eight. Munster defended heartily on their try line, with pick and go moves winding down the clock and keeping possession.
Eventually Munster were awarded a penalty after White came in from the side but Munster failed to find touch in the swirling wind. The Blues somehow got out of jail deep into added time when Tal Selley broke through the midfield and to score under the posts. Blair converted with the last kick of the game to round-off a last gasp victory for the home side on St Davids Day.
Cardiff Blues 15 Ben Blair 14 Tal Selley 13 Jamie Robinson 12 Gareth Thomas 11 Jamie Roberts 10 Rhys Jones (60off) 9 Richie Rees (65off) 8 Xavier Rush (C) 7 Robin Sowden Taylor 6 Mamma Molitika (73off) 5 Paul Tito (65off) 4 Deiniol Jones 3 Gary Powell (60off) 2 T Rhys Thomas (60off) 1 John Yapp 16 Taufao Filise (60on) 17 Gareth Williams (60on) 18 Scott Morgan (65on) 19 Ben White (73on)20 Jason Spice (65on) 21 Nick Macleod (60on) 22 Dafydd Hewitt
Munster 15 Shaun Payne 14 Brian Carney 13 Kieran Lewis 12 Lifeimi Mafi 11 Doug Howlett 10 Paul Warwick 9 Peter Stringer (77off) 8 Anthony Foley (73off) 7 Niall Ronan (73off) 6 Alan Quinlan 5 Paul O'Connell (C) 4 Donnacha Ryan 3 Tony Buckley 2 Frank Sheahan (68off) 1 Federico Pucciariello 16 Denis Fogarty (68on) 17 Eugene McGovern 18 Mark Melbourne 19 John O'Sullivan (73on) 20 James Coughlan (73on) 21 Tomas O'Leary (77on) 22 Jeremy Manning
CARDIFF BLUES MUNSTER
TRIES T Rhys Thomas x 1 Payne x 1
J Roberts x 1 Buckley x 1
T Selley x 1 OConnell x 1
PENALTIES Blair x 2 Warwick x 2
CONVERSIONS Blair x 2 Warwick x 1