Planet Rugby

Blues secure Heineken spot

10th May 2009 19:21

Share:

Andy Powell midair

Andy Powell: Try-scorer

Cardiff Blues made sure of Heineken Cup rugby next season with a 20-12 win over Magners League champions Munster at the Arms Park on Sunday.

However, injuries to two of their number provided further scares for the British Lions management following the loss of Tom Shanklin last Wednesday.

Even before kick-off, Leigh Halfpenny felt a twinge in his hamstring and opted to pull out.

Then, early in the second half, centre Jamie Roberts - wearing the same number 12 shirt occupied by Shanklin in midweek - left the field with a shoulder injury, though he did so at a trot and unaccompanied by medical staff.

Afterwards neither man seemed too worried, but Lions coach Ian McGeechan will be waiting for reassurance after further checks.

The Blues commanded the opening exchanges, but lacked the finishing touch. Fly-half Nicky Robinson even missed two kickable penalties, before spurning a third opportunity and going for position near the flag.

It paid off, superb handling along the line - particularly by Chris Czekaj, an emergency full-back following Halfpenny's withdrawal - let Tom James trot in on the left.

Munster, a man short after flanker Nick Williams was sin-binned, were under pressure for long periods.

But the broke downfield, with full back Denis Hurley leading the way, and battered at the home line until number eight Denis Leamy stretched over.

Robinson finally landed a penalty in first-half injury time, but the three-point interval margin did not reflect the Blues' dominance.

Early in the second half, the home side lost Roberts and then almost conceded a try when flanker Niall Ronan raced clear, but a knock-on ruined Munster's chance.

The Irish province were showing greater urgency and the Blues needed the TV official to rule that first Leamy and then centre Barry Murphy were held up over the line.

Their efforts were eventually rewarded when right-wing Kieran Lewis crossed in the corner and Jeremy Manning converted.

But, in a mirror image of the first half, the Blues scored on their first visit to the Munster 22 since the break, prop Gary Powell claiming the touchdown.

The video official then voted against the Blues, ruling that Robinson had knocked on after winning a chase after a Martyn Williams kick.

But replacement Ceri Sweeney made sure of the win with an interception try, converted by Robinson.

The scorers:

For Cardiff Blues:

Tries: James, Powell, Sweeney

Con: Robinson

Pen: Robinson

For Munster:

Tries: Leamy, Lewis

Con: Manning

Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Richard Mustoe, 13 Jamie Robinson, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Chris Czekaj, 10 Nicky Robinson, 9 Darren Allinson, 8 Andy Powell, 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Sam Warburton, 5 Scott Morgan, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Gary Powell, 2 Gareth Williams, 1 John Yapp.

Replacements: 16 Sam Hobbs, 17 T. Rhys Thomas, 18 Deiniol Jones, 19 Ben White, 20 Richie Rees, 21 Ceri Sweeney, 22 Tom James.

Munster: 15 Denis Hurley, 14 Brian Carney, 13 Barry Murphy, 12 Keith Earls, 11 Ian Dowling, 10 Jeremy Manning, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Denis Leamy, 7 Niall Ronan, 6 Nick Williams, 5 Mick O'Driscoll (capt), 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 John Hayes, 2 Denis Fogarty, 1 Federico Pucciariello.

Replacements: 16 Mike Essex, 17 Tony Buckley, 18 James Coughlan, 19 Dave Foley, 20 Conor Murray, 21 Paul Warwick, 22 Kieran Lewis.

Referee: Peter Allen (Scotland)

Touch judges: Gwyn Morris (Wales), Leighton Hodges (Wales)

Television match official: Neil Ballard (Wales)

Assessor: Les Peard (Wales)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 5
Northampton vs Gloucester19:45
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 5
Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Munster vs Edinburgh19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle vs Toulouse14:45
Castres vs BayonneCastres vs Bayonne Preview
Grenoble vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Oyonnax vs Stade Francais18:30
Lyon vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulon20:45
Friday , September 5
Montpellier vs Castres20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 30
Griquas vs Cheetahs15:00
Blue Bulls vs Western ProvinceBlue Bulls vs Western Province Preview
Eastern Province Kings vs Lions19:10
Friday , September 5
Western Province vs Eastern Province Kings19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , August 30
Counties Manukau vs Hawkes BayCounties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay Preview
Southland vs Otago17:35
North Harbour vs WaikatoNorth Harbour vs Waikato Preview
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs TasmanAuckland vs Tasman Preview
Wednesday, September 3
Manawatu vs Bay Of Plenty19:35
Thursday , September 4
Otago vs Canterbury19:35
Friday , September 5
Tasman vs Waikato18:05
Northland vs Hawkes Bay20:05
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne 20 - 21 MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 32 - 22 SharksPumas vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Wellington 21 - 27 ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Report
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Stade Francais 23 - 20 Lyon
Toulon 60 - 19 La Rochelle
Montpellier 20 - 17 GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Report
Bordeaux-Begles 30 - 21 Racing Metro Paris
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Blue Bulls 30 - 25 Eastern Province KingsBlue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 27 - 14 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
Sharks 19 - 16 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Northland 35 - 5 WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Report
Counties Manukau 29 - 25 OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse 35 - 6 CastresToulouse vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00