An injury time try from Alan Quinlan gave Munster a four try 32-18 win over Cardiff Blues at a packed Thomond Park
Munster took their points total in Pool 4 to a healthy 18 with this 32-18 win over Cardiff Blues side at Thomond Park and while it was a victory that was not without blemish, it was nevertheless a fully deserved win. Munster led by seven points with the game in the final quarter when Cardiff broke clear on half-way and with men to spare. However a certain try was denied them when Jamie Robinson spilled the ball with the line at his mercy. Munster re-applied pressure at the other end and were rewarded when Quinlan crashed over and Ronan O’Gara landed the conversion.
It had started so well for the home side that it seemed they might achieve the bonus point score by half time. Man of the Match Denis Leamy opened with score off the back of a scrum in the seventh minute, O’Gara adding the extras for a 7-3 lead.
Things got even better in the 19th minute when Peter Stringer took a quick line-out throw to Leamy who stepped his way to the line, O’Gara again converting. Ben Blair landed his second penalty five minutes later but it was Munster who continued to press and impress before an error led to a breakaway try for the Blues to haul them back into the game.
O’Gara’s injury time penalty left just seven points separating the sides at the break (20-13) but that lead was extended within eight minutes of the re-start when Barry Murphy slalomed through for a try, O’Gara pushing his conversion attempt just right of the right upright.
The alarm bells started to jangle when replacement Mark Lewis went over for a try that Blair converted to again leave just a score between them but having turned down several opportunities to go for goal when desperate Blues defence forced penalties, Munster were rewarded by that late Quinlan strike.
MUNSTER: S Payne; J Kelly, B Murphy, T Halstead, I Dowling; R O’Gara, P Stringer; D Hurley, F Sheahan, J Hayes; D O’Callaghan, P O’Connell (capt); A Quinlan, D Wallace, D Leamy. Replacements: F Pucciariello for Hurley (65 mins).
CARDIFF: B Blair; T James, J Robinson, T Shanklin, C Czekaj; N Macleod, M Phillips; J Yapp, R Thomas, T Filise; B Davies, D Jones; S Morgan, M Williams, X Rush (capt). Replacements: M Stcherbina for James (20 mins); G Powell for Filise, M Lewis for Jones (both 50 mins); G Williams for Thomas, N Robinson for Stcherbina (both 61 mins); B White for Lewis (75 mins). Sinbinned: Williams 40(+5) mins).
Referee: J Jutge (France).