Planet Rugby

Munster edge Cardiff cliffhanger

25th March 2011 21:00

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Ronan OGara

Winning penalty: Ronan O'Gara

Munster consolidated their lead in the Magners League on Friday with a 16-15 win over the Blues at Cardiff City Stadium.

The Blues in contrast missed the chance to move into the play-off places.

A try by back-row James Coughlan aided by eleven points from the boot of fly-half Ronan O'Gara saw the Irish side continue their march towards the top spot of the Magners League table.

Despite responding with four Leigh Halpenny penalties and a Dan Parks drop-goal, the defeat is severe hammer blow to Cardiff's end of season aspirations.

Munster were looking to extend their superb Magners League run but they fell behind to an early penalty from winger Halfpenny.

It was the Irish side who were looking the more threatening with ball-in-hand and a scything Keith Earls break was finished off by Coughlan, O'Gara converting. But the Blues replied through another Halfpenny three points.

Prop John Yapp was then sin-binned for an off-the-ball incident and from the resulting penalty, O'Gara extended the away side's lead.

With 25 minutes gone, the Munster fly-half moved his side seven points clear before tempers flared between Cardiff substitute Sam Hobbs and opposition hooker Damien Varley, who were both yellow carded.

From the brawl, the penalty was awarded to the Blues and Halfpenny duly converted before adding another to make it 12-13 at half-time.

Despite once again threatening through Earls after the break, Munster went behind when substitute stand-off Parks kicked a drop-goal.

However, they regained the lead not long after when O'Gara scored a penalty to confirm their dominance of this Magners League season.

The scorers:

For Cardiff Blues:
Pens: Halfpenny 4
Drop:Parks

For Munster:
Tries: Coughlan
Cons: O'Gara
Pens: O'Gara 3

Yellow cards: Yapp (Cardiff - 19th min); Varley (Munster - 33rd min)

Cardiff Blues: 15 Chris Czekaj, 14 Richard Mustoe, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Leigh Halfpenny, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Xavier Rush, 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Andries Pretorius, 5 Paul Tito (c), 4 Michael Paterson, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Rhys Williams, 1 John Yapp.
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Nathan Trevett, 18 Sam Hobbs, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Mamma Molitika, 21 Tom Slater, 22 Dan Parks, 23 Jamie Roberts.

Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Doug Howlett, 13 Johne Murphy, 12 Lifeimi Mafi, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Connor Murray, 8 Denis Leamy, 7 Niall Ronan, 6 James Coughlan, 5 Mick O'Driscoll, 4 Paul O'Connell (c), 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Damien Varley, 1 Wian du Preez.
Replacements: 16 Mike Sherry, 17 Marcus Horan, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Donncha Ryan, 20 Peter O'Mahony, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Sam Tuitupou, 23 Danny Cusack.

Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland)

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