Saturday 3 December 2016

Double jeopardy against the Welsh

Daragh Small

Published 09/09/2016 | 02:30

James Cronin in action during training
James Cronin in action during training

Munster will look to make it back-to-back wins over Welsh opposition at the start of the Pro12 season, for the third time in the league's history, when they clash with Cardiff Blues at Irish Independent Park this evening.

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Munster secured a 23-13 victory over Scarlets at Parc y Scarlets last weekend, thanks to tries from James Cronin and Ronan O'Mahony.

Now they hope to replicate the teams of 2002-03 and 2007-08 who beat two Welsh regions in their first two outings at the beginning of the season.

Fourteen years ago, Munster beat Llanelli 20-13 at Stradey Park, and followed that up with a 48-23 hammering of Ebbw Vale at the then Musgrave Park.

Then in 2007, the soon to be double Heineken Cup champions, kicked off their season with a 26-16 victory over Scarlets in Cork. And in Round 2 they got the better of Dragons on a 26-16 scoreline at Rodney Parade.

Munster lost 17-6 at home to Cardiff in 2012-13 but since then they have won three in a row in their own back yard against the Blues by a combined 66 points.

Munster were comprehensive in their victory over Scarlets last weekend, but their one lapse in concentration led to a Gareth Davies try, and new director of rugby Rassie Erasmus says the players got it wrong.

"The referee did nothing wrong there, but almost as the game was live I thought it was almost like a double whistle for foul play and they are going to check the collision in the air," he said.

"Most of the players - not that it is any excuse - thought that there will be a review on the guy's challenge and that was also a difficult decision for the referee to make, which he got right.

"Then I think everyone relaxed, which was the wrong thing to do," he added.

Irish Independent

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