Blues secure famous win against Munster at Musgrave Park, with Ben Blair scoring 14 points and a first half try from Tom James.
19 CARDIFF BLUES 12
FRIDAY 2 MARCH 7.40PM MUSGRAVE PARK MAGNERS LEAGUE
After over a month's break the Blues returned to Magners League action. From the onset the Blues drove forward powerfully through Rush and Filise with Australian centre Stcherbina coming close to scoring in left corner before Hickey cleared the danger.
The wet conditions meant it would be difficult to play open rugby but both sides, to their credit, did try to spread the ball wide. The Blues were awarded a penalty in the 8th minutes and Blair slotted the kick to score the first points of the evening. The Blues were putting pressure on Munster, with good breaks from Stcherbina and strong running from Rush and Morgan. They were winning the battle for territory and possession in the first quarter.
Munster kicked a penalty to the corner and having gained possession took the ball up the midfield. A scrum on the Blues line put huge pressure on the visitors, Munster passed the ball out but the move broke down in midfield. Tom James hacked the ball through all the way up to the halfway line, then fumbled the kick on but the ball beat the Munster defence, James picked up and sped over under the posts to score. Blair added the conversion to extend the lead to ten nil.
It was an evenly balanced first half with both teams battling for territory but Blair slotted another penalty just before half time. Nick Robinson saved the day for the Blues when he chased back to prevent Christian Cullen from collecting the ball and crossing for a try. The Blues scrum was solid also in defence and the forwards won the penalty to allow Robinson to clear the danger.
HALF TIME MUNSTER 0 CARDIFF BLUES 13
Tom James had picked up a minor calf strain and was substituted for Mosese Luvietasau during half time. Mafi had also come on for Shaun Payne for Munster. Hickey got the Irish off to a great second half start with a penalty after two minutes and there seemed more urgency in the Munster play.
However, the Blues were keeping possession well and working through the phases. They were eventually awarded a penalty that Blair slotted. The Blues defence was organised and remained solid despite Munsters best efforts to breach it. The Munstermen were however awarded a penalty that Hickey once again converted.
A charge down of a Cardiff Blues clearance put huge pressure on the Blues but Nick Robinson did well to get back and tackle. As Munster attempted to spread the ball, Jamie Robinson came in from the wrong side of the ruck and was sent to the sin bin. Hickie converted the penalty to put the score at Munster 9 Cardiff Blues 16 and ensure a nail bitting final quarter to the game.
Down to 14 men the Blues defended valiantly with Rob Sidoli clearing up the ball and Mike Phillips kicking downfield. With Pucciariello being carried off it would ensure passive scrums. Mafi was a real live wire for Munster and attacked the Blues line and only a knock on prevented him crossing for a try. With uncontested scrums Felisise was substituted for Mark Lewis with 10 minutes to go.
The Blues were awarded a penalty in the 77th minute and Blair stepped up and a beautiful kick put the Blues two scores ahead and secure the win despite Hickey kicking a last minute penalty.