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Munster grind out bonus point win

Monday 9th October 2006

12:00 am (GMT)

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A sample of the video evidence used in the discipline hearing following the citing of Stade Francais's Juan Cruz Guillemain - 17/01/2013 11:39

A sample of the video evidence used in the discipline hearing following the citing of Stade Francais's Juan Cruz Guillemain - 17/01/2013 11:39

Munster look unstoppable. They ground out a win over Cardiff Blues last weekend with sheer brute force up front, and there aren’t many who would predict a different outcome at Thomond Park this weekend.

Incredibly – Munster have never lost a Heineken Cup match at their fortress venue in 12 seasons of European rugby. It is unlikely that Dai Young’s Cardiff Blues will be the team to break that record.

The Blues have come close this season, but are still looking for cigars – as the old saying goes.

The Welsh side beat Bourgoin in Round 1, pushed the Tigers hard in Round 2, and were it not for a bounce of the ball here and there, could have turned over Munster in Round 3.

But, with just five points from three matches, qualification for the final eight now seems virtually impossible. Munster by contrast are top of the Pool, and full of confidence.

David Young has selected a team that shows four changes for this Saturday’s Heineken Cup match against Munster at Thomond Park.

Nick Macleod gets a well deserved start at 10 having waited patiently for a starting opportunity, while Tom Shanklin is brought in from the wing to partner Jamie Robinson in the centre which gives the near ever present Marc Stcherbina a spot on the bench.

John Yapp starts in the front row as Gethin Jenkins was not considered for selection after injuring his calf in the home match, however he should be available for the Ospreys match. Bradley Davies also gets a start in the second row after

James Goode picked up an ankle injury in last Sunday’s defeat and is expected to be out for up to 14 days.

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Munster grind out bonus point win

Monday 9th October 2006

12:00 am (GMT)

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- 26/09/1998 14:30

- 26/09/1998 14:30

Munster battled hard to beat a spirit Cardiff Blues team in Thomond Park to keep themselves in pole position in Pool 4.

The reigning champions have 18 points from a possible 20, and the scene is set for a round six showdown with Leicester Tigers to determine the outcome of this Pool.

But this was not a match Munster had all their own way. Kiwi kicker Ben Blair missed his first pot at goal after two minutes, but opened the scoring just a minute later with a 40m shot from the right hand side.

Munster chose to kick to the corner with their first penalty, and moments later were held up as the famous pack got into their groove.

From the resulting scrum, Number 8 Denis Leamy muscled his way through to score the games opening try, which O’Gara converted.

And Munster’s positive ambition was displayed again at their next penalty opportunity when captain Paul O’Connell signalled O’Gara to kick to the corner. Munster’s pack powered up – but were held up as they attacked the line.

Munster’s second try came from a bit of lighting thinking from Munster’s scrum Half Peter Stringer. He forced his opposite number to kick into touch just 10m from his own line, and took the throw immediately to Leamy who had the simple task of running a short distance for his second try of the game, O’Gara added the extras.

But just four minutes later Blair responded with his second penalty kick of the match to keep his side in touch with the Heineken champions, and it was significant that at Munster’s next penalty O’Connell signalled O’Gara to notch three points which he obliged.

And with the sides preparing for half time, Jamie Robinson silenced the home fans as he intercepted a loose Munster pass, and chased his own kick 50m to score, when Blair added an extra two, the Blues were back in the match.

However, the Blues are so often their own worst enemy, and when O’Gara scored the penalty that was granted for Martyn Williams yellow card for killing the ball the Blues looked like they may press the self destruct button again.

And when Munster centre Barry Murphy scored the opening trey of the second half after 48minutes, the home fans faith in their side was restored – as was the two-score advantage.

Incredibly, the Blue’s first foray into Munster territory in the second period ended in a five point score. Gary Powell found himself fifteen metres out, and offloaded in the tackle to Williams who saw Blair in space to his left, and he fed replacement Mark Lewis to score.

Moments later the Blues squandered a chance to get themselves right back in the match. Jamie Robinson couldn’t hang on to Blair’s pass when the break was begging, and Munster took long hard looks at themselves.

But the errors still came from the European champions, and despite spending the majority of the final quarter in the Cardiff red zone, the red machine took until the fifth minute of extra time breach the line to make the result safe and earn a bonus point – but only just.


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