Planet Rugby

Laulala wins it for Munster

02nd November 2012 22:44

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Munster s New Zealander centre Casey Laulala

Match-winner: Casey Laulala

Casey Laulala's 78th-minute try snatched a 24-28 victory for Munster against Cardiff Blues following a nip-and-tuck contest.

Munster headed to Cardiff in search of a third consecutive win following convincing victories over Edinburgh and Zebre, while the Blues were looking to end a torrid run of form.

But on the night there was little between the two teams. Jason Tovey's penalty goal on eight minutes gave Cardiff the lead but Munster responded quickly, as Tommy O'Donnell crossed for a try converted by Ronan O' Gara after Ian Keatley had made the initial break.

O'Gara's penalty on the half-hour put seven points between the teams and it remained that way until half-time, though the Blues could take heart from a strong effort in the first period.

It was Cardiff who started the second half the brighter of the two teams, and, when Ceri Sweeney converted Dafydd Hewitt's try on 48 minutes, the scores were level.

The concession appeared to shake the visitors into action, but it was the Blues who went ahead courtesy of a Sweeney penalty two minutes before the hour.

As the kick sailed over, the hosts were starting to believe, but their hopes were dented just minutes later when O'Donnell dove over under the posts for his second try.

The conversion made it 13-17 to Munster but the drama continued, and the lead changed hands once again less than five minutes later when Lewis Jones crossed for Cardiff after Peter Stringer's kick was charged down.

This time the conversion was wayward, but the Blues were able to hold on to their lead until the dying moments, when the stage was set for Laulala to crash over and break Welsh hearts to seal a dramatic win for Munster.

The scorers:

For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Hewitt, Jones
Con: Sweeney
Pens: Sweeney, Tovey

For Munster:
Tries: Laulala, O'Donnell 2
Cons: O'Gara 3
Pen: O'Gara

Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Gavin Evans, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Tom James, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Lewis Jones, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Luke Hamilton , 5 James Down, 4 Lou Reed, 3 Taufa'ao Filise, 2 Rhys Williams, 1 Campese Ma'afu.
Replacements: 16 Andi Kyriacou, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Ryan Harford, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Thomas Young , 21 Rob Lewis, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Owen Williams.

Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Doug Howlett (captain), 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Ian Keatley, 11 Luke O'Dea, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 Tommy O'Donnell, 7 Sean Dougall, 6 Dave O'Callaghan, 5 Billy Holland, 4 Dave Foley, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Mike Sherry, 1 Marcus Horan.
Replacements: 16 Damian Varley, 17 John Ryan, 18 Wian du Preez, 19 Ian Nagle, 20 Patrick Butler, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Danny Barnes, 23 Johne Murphy.

Referee: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)

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