Planet Rugby

Munster thrash Cardiff Blues

08th February 2014 21:05

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Simon Zebo Munster

On the board: Simon Zebo

Munster ran six tries past Cardiff Blues in a simple 54-13 victory at Thomond Park, to extended their advantage at the top of the Pro12 table.

In an entertaining opening period, the Irish province took a 19-13 lead into the break after Dave Kilcoyne's try and 14 points from the boot of JJ Hanrahan.

Cardiff also played their part in the first half with Owen Williams going over and Gareth Davies kicking three penalties, but the Limerick-based outfit dominated after the interval.

Blues' prop Patrick Palmer was sin-binned and, during his time off the field, Munster were awarded a penalty try and Simon Zebo and Gerhard van den Heever also went over.

Late scores from Andrew Conway and CJ Stander completed the rout as they secured their 11th Pro12 victory of the season.

The hosts were hit this week by the news that head coach Rob Penney was to step down at the end of the campaign, but the team didn't let it affect them on the field.

Hanrahan and Davies traded penalties early on in the game before Kilcoyne powered over to take Penney's side 10-3 ahead. To their credit, Cardiff, who have endured a disappointing campaign, hit back when a surging Harry Robinson break was finished off by Williams.

But Munster simply upped the intensity and their stand-off kicked successive three-pointers for a 16-10 lead.

Although Davies reduced the deficit with one of his own, the half ended with Hanrahan adding another from the tee.

The second period started with the Blues looking to move the ball wide but they struggled to seriously test the Irish team's rearguard.

It didn't take long for the hosts to re-establish their control on the encounter and, following a succession of scrums on their own line, Cardiff prop Palmer was eventually sin-binned. That was to prove particularly costly as they proceeded to concede three tries in six minutes.

Firstly, the pressure at the set-piece resulted in a penalty try being awarded before Zebo and van den Heever touched down to secure the bonus-point. Conway and Stander went over in the final minutes as they passed the 50-point mark.

The scorers:

For Munster:
Tries: Kilcoyne, Penalty Try, Zebo, Van den Heever, Conway, Stander
Cons: Hanrahan 6
Pens: Hanrahan 4

For Blues:
Try: OR Williams
Con: G Davies
Pen: G Davies
Yellow Card: Palmer

Munster: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Denis Hurley, 11 Johne Murphy, 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 James Coughlan (c), 7 Barry O'Mahony, 6 CJ Stander, 5 Dave Foley, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Duncan Casey, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Ger Slattery, 17 James Cronin, 18 John Ryan, 19 Billy Holland, 20 Sean Dougall, 21 Cathal Sheridan, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Andrew Conway.

Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Harry Robinson, 13 Owen Williams, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Chris Czekaj, 10 Gareth Davies, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Ellis Jenkins, 6 Macauley Cook, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Chris Dicomidis, 3 Benoit Bourrust, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Sam Hobbs (c).
Replacements: 16 Marc Breeze, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Patrick Palmer, 19 James Down, 20 Luke Hamilton, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Simon Humberstone, 23 Isaia Tuifua

Referee: Giuseppe Vivarini (Italy)
Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher (Ireland), Brian MacNeice (Ireland)
Television match official: Seamus Flannery (Ireland)
Citing Commissioner: Peter Ferguson (Ireland)

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