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  • Penalty, van den Heever, Kilcoyne, Zebo, Conway, Stander,
    Penalty goals: Hanrahan (4),
    Conversions: Hanrahan (6),
54 - 13

Cardiff Blues

  • Williams,
    Penalty goals: Davies (2),
    Conversions: Davies,

RaboDirect PRO12: Munster crush Cardiff Blues at Thomond Park

Last updated: 8th February 2014  

jj hanrahan munster

JJ Hanrahan: Kicked 14 points in Munster's comfortable win on Saturday

Munster s Simon Zebo

Simon Zebo: Scored in the second half of Munster's rout

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Munster recorded their biggest win of the season with a 54-13 demolition job of Cardiff Blues which moved them seven points clear at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12.

The six-try victory came in the wake of Munster head coach Rob Penney announcing his decision to leave the Irish province at the end of the current campaign, and on the same day that Ireland beat Wales in the Six Nations.

It proved to be no distraction for his players as they carved open Cardiff in the second half, scoring three tries while Blues replacement prop Patrick Palmer was in the sin bin.

The Welsh region were only 19-13 behind at the break but that run of tries - Simon Zebo and Gerhard van den Heever added to a penalty try - put the hosts in full control.

With their bonus point secured, Munster added some late gloss as Andrew Conway and CJ Stander both went over, with out-half JJ Hanrahan brilliantly landing 10 kicks from as many attempts for a 24-point tally.

Despite the difficult wet conditions, Munster made a bright start with Thomond Park debutant Van den Heever threatening from a Hanrahan cross-field kick.

Hanrahan and Gareth Davies swapped penalties before direct running from captain and man-of-the-match James Coughlan took him close to the try-line, and Dave Kilcoyne plunged over from the ensuing ruck.

Hanrahan converted but the Blues answered back within three minutes, Harry Robinson countering from a loose kick and breaking free on the right wing to send centre Owen Williams over in the corner. Davies swung over a cracking conversion kick to bring the visitors level at 10-all.

Led the assault

Former Cardiff centre Casey Laulala and Johne Murphy led an assault down the right wing as Munster got back on course, with successive penalties following from Hanrahan's right boot.

The Blues continued to be economical without really threatening, picking up a penalty on the half hour which Davies slotted for 16-13.

However, the gap was out to six points after Hanrahan punished Cardiff skipper Sam Hobbs for not rolling away on the stroke of half-time.

The second half was rather listless until Munster put pressure on in the scrum and a series of indiscretions saw Palmer yellow-carded by referee Giuseppe Vivarini.

The resulting 60th-minute scrum, which included replacement Thomas Davies, was also dropped and Munster were awarded their penalty try which Hanrahan converted.

Full-back Zebo - keen to force his way back into the Ireland squad - then celebrated his first start since October with a well-taken try, following a final pass from Coughlan and a barnstorming run in the build-up from prop James Cronin.

Hanrahan booted the ball wide for South African Van den Heever to run in from the right for the bonus-point score, and the half-century was in sight after replacement Conway dribbled through and dived for try number five.

Television match official Seamus Flannery confirmed the grounding and he was also involved in the awarding of flanker Stander's injury-time try, a powerful drive and stretch for the line.

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Guinness PRO12 Table

Guinness PRO12 Table - September 14 2014
Pos Team P Pts
11 Zebre 2 0
Forthcoming Guinness PRO12 Fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday 19th September
Guinness PRO12
19:30Munster vs Zebre
19:35Connacht vs Leinster
19:35Cardiff Blues vs Ulster
Saturday 20th September
14:40Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow
18:00Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso
Sunday 21st September
16:00Ospreys vs Edinburgh
Friday 26th September
19:35Leinster vs Cardiff Blues
19:35Glasgow vs Connacht
19:35Edinburgh vs Scarlets
Saturday 27th September
15:00Zebre vs Ulster
18:30Munster vs Ospreys
Sunday 28th September
16:00Newport Gwent D'gons vs Benetton Treviso
Friday 3rd October
19:35Ulster vs Edinburgh
19:35Zebre vs Ospreys
19:35Connacht vs Cardiff Blues
Saturday 4th October
18:30Leinster vs Munster
Sunday 5th October
15:00Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow
16:00Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons
Friday 10th October
19:35Munster vs Scarlets
Saturday 11th October
TBCBenetton Treviso vs Connacht
14:40Edinburgh vs Newport Gwent D'gons
16:00Zebre vs Leinster
17:05Ulster vs Glasgow
Sunday 12th October
16:00Ospreys vs Cardiff Blues
Friday 31st October
19:35Ospreys vs Connacht

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Phil Edwards

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