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Munster Can Expect A Blues Backlash

November 2, 2012 12:00 am By Munster Rugby

If ever an occasion called for a backlash then the one between Cardiff Blues and Munster tonight at The Arms Park is most definitely it.

And Blues boss Phil Davies knows that even the absence of eight players who are away on international duty will not be tolerated as an excuse if his side, albeit with 11 changes, don’t produce the goods tonight.

“It was clear for all to see that last weekend's game against Leinster wasn't a very positive night for us.” Davies said of his side’s record defeat last weekend in Dublin and he promises that “supporters can look forward to a very competitive match, as it always is against Munster.”

Those supporters will be looking for a little bit more than their side being competitive tonight against a Munster side that also had to plan without all their internationals.  Well almost all.

The exception being the considerable one of Ronan O’Gara who’s back after a hamstring injury that he picked up against Racing Metro, and then missed out on the subsequent games.

He’s partnered at half back by Duncan Williams with Ian Keatley named at inside centre, an interesting move that gives Munster options off set piece scrums.

All in in all it’s a fairly callow Munster side with a new combination of Billy Holland and Dave Foley in the second row and a new look back row where Sean Dougall returns with Tommy O’Donnell at number 8.

And given the circumstances at the RDS last weekend it's safe to assume we’ll see a performance of atonement from Davies charges and that will make this a particularly daunting task for Munster.

Munster: F Jones; D Howlett capt, C Laulala, I Keatley, L O'Dea; R O'Gara, D Williams; M Horan, M Sherry, S Archer; D Foley, B Holland; Dave O'Callaghan, S Dougall, T O'Donnell. Replacements: D Varley, J Ryan, W du Preez, I Nagle, P Butler, P Stringer, D Barnes, J Murphy.

Cardiff Blues: D Fish; T Williams, G Evans, D Hewitt, T James; J Tovey, L Jones; C Ma’afu, R Williams, T Filise, L Reed, J Down, R Copeland, A Pretorius capt, J Navidi. Replacements: A Kyriacou, S Hobbs, R Harford, M Cook, L Hamilton, R Lewis, C Sweeney, Owen Williams
 

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Laulala’s Try Wins It

November 2, 2012 12:00 am By Munster Rugby

A try from Casey Laulala with just minutes to go at the Arms Park gave Munster a 24-18 win over Cardiff Blues and brought their poor away RaboDirect PRO12 form to an end in rather spectacular fashion.

They looked a beaten docket as they trailed the home side 18-17 with four minutes remaining. But then, awarded a penalty on half way, they went for position and won line-out possession that provided the opportunity for Laulala to work his magic.

It was a game they looked to have left behind after they trailed by a single point when Lewis Jones scored his side's second try in the 63rd minute. The home side then kept Munster contained in their own half, a ploy that seemed likely to succeed until those dramatic late stages. And if the Blues could argue that they were unlucky then credit too to this Munster side who never lost faith in themselves.

After Jason Tovey  had opened the scoring with a 7th minute penalty  Munster  got on the board with a delightfully worked try from Tommy O'Donnell who got on the end of a move involving Sean Dougal initially then Laulala and finally Ian Keatley who delivered the scoring pass.

Munster then lost two players in the space of nine minutes, Ronan O'Gara to the sin bin and Sean Dougal to inury in the 24th minute, replaced by Paddy Butler.
Just after he returned, O'Gara gained good yardage with a penalty from half way to inside the Blues 22 and when the home defence was once again stretched he extended the lead with a penalty.

Ceri Sweeney, an early second half replacement for Jason Tovey tied the game up with his conversion of Dafydd Hewitt's 45th minute try at the end of a bout of Blues pressure and shortly after edged his side in front with a penalty.

A superb O'Donnell try under the posts converted by O'Gara put Munster back in front but the topsy-turvey nature of the contest continued when Peter Stringer's attempted clearance was blocked and Lewis Jones kicked through and got the touchdown for an 18-17 lead.

Cardiff retained that lead right and had Munster pinned in their own half right until the end when they coughed up a penalty on half way O'Gara found the touchline on the 22 and from an off the top take by Ian Nagle, Laulala crashed through for the winning try.

Munster: F Jones; D Howlett capt, C Laulala, I Keatley, L O'Dea; R O'Gara, D Williams; M Horan, M Sherry, S Archer; D Foley, B Holland; Dave O'Callaghan, S Dougall, T O'Donnell. Replacements: S Henry, J Ryan, W du Preez, I Nagle, P Butler, P Stringer, D Barnes, J Murphy.

Cardiff Blues: D Fish; T Williams, G Evans, D Hewitt, T James; J Tovey, L Jones; C Ma'afu, R Williams, T Filise, L Reed, J Down, R Copeland, A Pretorius capt, J Navidi. Replacements: A Kyriacou, S Hobbs, R Harford, M Cook, L Hamilton, R Lewis, C Sweeney, Owen Williams

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