Misfiring Munster pay for their mistakes

Mon, Jan 7, 2013, 00:00

Munster 6 Cardiff Blues 17:Rob Penney was scathing in the assessment of his side’s two-try defeat at home against Cardiff Blues on Saturday adding it was one of the most frustrating games for him as Munster coach.

“It would be up there considering the amount of possession we had. We got something like 29 first-phase gain-lines (breaks), they hit two. . .

“We had ample possession and we just made so many errors. It was a frustrating night. And then we made a defensive error after half-time which was really unacceptable.”

Second-half tries from Owen Williams and Robin Copeland clinched the victory for the Blues, who shipped nine tries in their last visit to Ireland against Leinster.

But with Munster in need of two huge performances against Edinburgh and Racing Metro to have any hope of qualifying for the latter stages of the Heineken Cup, can Penney’s battered side lift their chins by next weekend?

“Who knows? A bad result can inspire you but it can also be a hindrance, but I think for this group they’ll prepare well next week and they’ll do everything they need to do to get themselves in the right spot to play well,” said Penney.

Knocks picked up by Conor Murray (face) and Stephen Archer (thigh) will concern the Munster coach ahead of Sunday’s clash, while the ankle injury suffered by Mike Sherry looked most serious at first glance.

Roberts makes difference

The Blues backrow of Josh Navidi, Sam Warburton and Copeland snarled throughout, but the return of Jamie Roberts for the first time in over two months was critical to the Blues victory.

The sides were level at 3-3 at the break with Rhys Patchell and Ronan O’Gara both slotting penalties in a dour opening half. The visitors got off to the better restart with a splendidly worked try from Williams in the 44th minute.

The winger cut through the Munster defence when Roberts put him through, following a series of pick and goes.

Patchell converted to make it 10-3 and though O’Gara quickly reduced the deficit with a penalty, Munster continued to misfire. After 70 minutes Copeland pounced on Duncan Williams’ fumble and cantered in for a try.

MUNSTER: F Jones; D Howlett, K Earls, J Downey, D Hurley; R O’Gara, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, M Sherry, S Archer; D Foley, D Ryan; T O’Donnell, S Dougall, J Coughlan. Replacements: D Williams for Murray (15 mins blood), S Henry for Sherry (24 mins), B Holland for Foley (58 mins), C Laulala for Earls (59 mins), I Keatley for Hurley (60 mins), BJ Botha for Archer (62 mins), CJ Stander for O’Donnell (62 mins), W du Preez for Kilcoyne (74 mins).

CARDIFF: J Tovey; O Williams, R Smith, J Roberts, H Robinson; R Patchell, L Jones; S Hobbs, R Williams, B Bourrust; B Davies, L Reed; J Navidi, S Warburton, R Copeland. Replacements: S Andrews for Bourrust (ht), L Halfpenny for Tovey (53 mins), J Down for Reed (57 mins), A Walker for Jones (62 mins), K Dacey for R Williams (69 mins), P Tamba for Hobbs (69 mins), L Hamilton for Copeland (70 mins).

Referee: N Owens (WRU).

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