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Munster Humbled in Cardiff
5 May 2004, 12:42 am
Munster fell to one of the worst defeats in their proud history as the Blues ran in nine tries in Cardiff. Blues winger Craig Morgan had his hat-trick before the halftime whistle.
Munster fell to one of the worst defeats in their proud history as the Blues ran in nine tries in Cardiff. Blues winger Craig Morgan had his hat-trick before the halftime whistle.

Coach Alan Gaffney made nine changes to the side who lost the Heineken Cup semi-final to London Wasps last weekend, and the new lineup struggled to gel.

The Blues backs ran it from everywhere against a Munster defence who looked like they'd rather be in the City Arms pub than at the Arms Park.

Blues winger Craig Morgan had his hat-trick before the halftime whistle, and the home side twisted the knife with four more tries in the second spell as they cruised past the 50-point mark.

The Blues opened the scoring when skipper Martyn Williams joined the backline to put Morgan over in the corner.

Centre Iestyn Harris added a penalty goal, and Canadian backrower Dan Baugh capped his 99th game for Cardiff by finishing off a great break from centre Jamie Robinson.

Munster stopped the rot for 20 minutes, but the genius of Harris cut them open as the Blues ran in their third try. He jinked and stepped past four defenders, including fullback Christian Cullen who is used to doing the same to the opposition, before giving Robinson the try-scoring pass. The big centre had time to offer the ball to his skipper Williams behind the Munster line, who declined.

Munster hit straight back when centre Rob Henderson ran over the top of Nicky Robinson to score from close range, but the Blues ran in their bonus-point try in the 36th minute when Morgan again found enough space to score in the left-hand corner.

The defending Celtic League champions scored again through Henderson, but Morgan completed his hat-trick on the stroke of halftime and the Blues went into the halftime break trailing 14-34.

Blues fans had to wait only 80 seconds of the second half before winger Tom Shanklin bagged his side's sixth try in the corner. Harris slotted his fourth conversion and the Blues cruised past the 40-point mark - the first time this season the Munster side have conceded so many points.

Lock Donncha O'Callaghan earned a yellow card for a professional foul, and Blues second-rower Heino Senekal crashed over the try-line from the ensuing lineout to compound the visitors' misery.

There was a lull in the scoring as both coaches cleared their benches, but Williams took the Blues past the half-century mark with a pushover try after 68 minutes.

Shanklin secured his second to take the score to 60, before referee Ramage called it a day.

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