Celtic League – Munster Away To Cardiff Blues
1st November 2005 By Munster Rugby
The Arms Park has proven to be an unlucky hunting ground for Munster where they have not managed to win in four outings
With two rounds of the Heineken complete Munster and Cardiff Blues find themselves in very similar positions, both with five points and occupying second spot in their respective Pools. But what will have focussed Munster minds will have been the Blues performance here at The Arms Park three weeks ago when they scored 34 points in the second half of their clash with Leeds Tykes to turn a 13-6 half-time deficit into a 40-13 victory.
The Blues have held the whip hand over Munster here, winning 30-20 last time, Munster s disappointment compounded by the loss through injury of Christian Cullen and 60-14 the season before.
Back in October 1996 Munster played here in the Heineken Cup, a game they lost 48-18. The link from the current set-up is provided by Anthony Foley, on international duty this week-end, by Paul McCarthy who was tight-head prop that day and by Killian Keane (out-half), both of whom are now part of the Munster back-room staff.
Munster were back a year later, Keane and Foley joined on the side then by Ronan O Gara, Anthony Horgan, Frank Sheahan and Alan Quinlan but Cardiff captained by Jonathan Humphreys once again prevailed on a scoreline of 43-23.
With the All Blacks in town for the game tomorrow against Grand Slammers Wales and Ireland in camp awaiting the touring side, both sides this evening will field without those on international duty.
The Munster squad will include names unfamiliar to Welsh rugby supporters, players such as Barry Murphy, Tomas O Leary, Jeremy Manning and Denis Fogarty, a quartet whose average age is 21.
At 23 years of age Stephen Keogh is something of a veteran having won his 40th Munster cap when he came on as a replacement in Heineken Cup game against Castres last weekend.
But then, back in 97, the quartet of O Gara, Horgan, Sheahan and Quinlan enjoyed the same anonymity and same average age.
They were the new kids on the block. Now those players have collectively accumulated 444 Munster caps and been capped over 100 times by Ireland.
Friday 4th November
CARDIFF BLUES v MUNSTER
At the Arms Park, 7.30 pm. Referee: Peter Allan (SRU).
Touch Judges: David R Davies (WRU), Howard Hopkins (WRU)
HEAD TO HEAD – RECENT MEETINGS
Friday 28 November 2003 (Celtic League) at Musgrave Park
Munster 31: Frankie Sheahan(2T) Shaun Payne(T) Mike Mullins(T)
Penalty Try(T) Ronan O’Gara(3C)
Cardiff Blues 10: Jamie Robinson(T) Iestyn Harris(C/P)
Friday 30 April 2004 (Celtic League) at Arms Park
Cardiff Blues 60: Craig Morgan(3T) Dan Baugh(T) Jamie Robinson(T) Tom
Shanklin(2T) Heino Senekal(T) Martyn Williams(T) Iestyn Harris(6C/P)
Munster 14: Rob Henderson(2T) Jason Holland(2C)
Saturday 16 October 2004 (Celtic League) at Thomond Park
Munster 49: Christian Cullen(2T/D) Jim Williams(T) Paul Devlin(T) Rob
Henderson(T) Ronan O’Gara(2C/5P) Paul Burke(C)
Cardiff Blues 18: Craig Quinnell(T) Kort Schubert(T) Lee Thomas(C/2P)
Saturday 5 March 2005 (Celtic League) at Arms Park
Cardiff Blues 30: Nick Robinson(T/D) Kort Schubert(2T) Lee
Thomas(2C/2P) Nick Macleod(C)
Munster 20: Marcus Horan(T) Frankie Sheahan(T) Paul Burke(2C/2P)
Cardiff’s loss at Leinster last time out in the Celtic League halted a sequence of back to back wins in the competition. At the Arms Park however, the Blues have won six of their last seven matches since January with the exception being the 22-25 reversal to Ulster on the 9th of September.
Table-topping Munster have lost just one of their last ten games in the Celtic League: 10-32 to Glasgow at Hughenden on September 17th. The Munstermen have made four previous visits to the Arms Park, two against Cardiff RFC and two against the Blues, and lost on each occasion.
All four previous clashes between Cardiff Blues and Munster have gone the way of the home side on the day.