Planet Rugby

Blues sneak home in Ireland

05th October 2007 21:28

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Tom James, Cardiff Blues

James: Two try hero for the Blues

Cardiff Blues returned to winning ways in the Magners League with a hard fought 19-17 victory over Munster at Musgrave Park on Friday.

In a match full of twists and turns and bizarre performances, the Blues looked to be in complete control throughout the 80 minutes but simply could not put Munster away and flirted dangerously with disaster all night.

In the end though, David Young's men did just enough to bounce back from last weekend's loss to Leinster and record their fifth win in six away games in the league.

In an astonishing first half, it was all the Blues as their intensity and poise had Munster reeling from early on.

Slow to recycle the ball, the hosts were on the back foot from as early as the seventh minute when Blues fly-half Nick Robinson demonstrated his form on the night with a well-struck penalty.

Munster could get no respite at that stage and with Paul Warwick having a shocker - three missed penalties from kickable positions in the opening half - the Blues looked to take full advantage.

Just two minutes later, a Robinson up and under caused consternation in the Munster rearguard.

When the ball broke off Shaun Payne, Robinson hacked on for winger Tom James to race clear of Ian Dowling, gather the ball and charge over for the game's opening try.

Having missed the conversion, Robinson soon landed his second penalty of the night to send the Blues into a 11-0 lead.

But, true to form, Munster rallied splendidly as the half came to a close and, with two minutes remaining, Warwick found his kicking boots to get Munster off the mark.

The number 10's penalty success was followed three minutes later by a try for the hosts as lock Mark Melbourne burrowed over. Warwick converted and Munster, somehow, went into the interval just 11-10 in arrears.

However, their brief comeback was just that.

On the resumption, it was more of the same as handling errors continued to blight their game.

The Blues were not bothered and continued to set the pace, extending their lead yet again after 44 minutes when a speedy attack from the visiting backs put James over for his second try.

Robinson tagged on a penalty eight minutes later and the Blues' advantage was out to 19-10.

Munster threatened to ruin the party when flanker Niall Ronan got in for a try after 69 minutes, converted by Warwick.

In the end, however, the table toppers hung on to claim the win and consign Munster to their first defeat of the season.

The scorers:

For Munster:

Tries: Melbourne, Ronan

Cons: Warwick 2

Pen: Warwick

For Cardiff Blues:

Tries: James 2

Pens: Robinson 3

The teams:

Munster: 15 Shaun Payne, 14 Ian Dowling, 13 Kieran Lewis, 12 Rua Tipoki, 11 Anthony Horgan, 10 Paul Warwick, 9 Tomas O'Leary, 8 Anthony Foley (c), 7 Niall Ronan, 6 James Coughlan, 5 Mick O'Driscoll, 4 Mark Melbourne, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Denis Fogarty, 1 Federico Puciariello.

Replacements: 16 Frank Sheahan, 17 Darragh Hurley, 18 Alan Quinlan, 19 Billy Holland, 20 Gerry Hurley, 21 Jeremy Manning, 22 Lifeimi Mafi.

Cardiff Blues: 15 Ben Blair, 14 Jamie Roberts, 13 Jamie Robinson, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Tom James, 10 Nick Robinson, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Xavier Rush (c), 7 Robin Sowden-Taylor, 6 Scott Morgan, 5 Robert Sidoli, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Gary Powell, 2 Gareth Williams, 1 John Yapp.

Replacements: 16 Scott Roberts, 17 Ross Johnson, 18 Deiniol Jones, 19 Ben White, 20 Jason Spice, 21 Nick Macleod, 22 Rhys Williams.

Referee: David Changleng (Scotland)

Touch judges: Eanna O'Dowd (Ireland), Paul Haycock (Ireland)

Citing commissioner: E Ryan

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