Jump to main content


Magners Preview: Munster v Cardiff Blues

Magners Preview: Munster v Cardiff Blues

Boasting a fresh line-up, Munster look to have the ideal chance to put one over on the Cardiff Blues on Saturday. The Blues have won the sides’ last four Magners League encounters so Munster, unbeaten so far this season, will be eager to reverse that trend.

MAGNERS LEAGUE: Saturday, September 20

MUNSTER v CARDIFF BLUES, 7.30pm (live Setanta Sports Ireland/S4C)

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

Team News: John Hayes and Alan Quinlan will return to competitive action for the first time this season when Munster take on the Cardiff Blues in the Magners League on Saturday night.

Prop Hayes has been named in Munster’s starting fifteen while back rower Quinlan has been selected on the replacements bench.

Hayes was originally chosen to start against Edinburgh in Munster’s opening Magners League game, but cried off the morning of the game through illness.

Quinlan, meanwhile, is back fit again having recovered from a groin strain that ruled him out of Ireland’s summer tour to New Zealand and Australia.

In total, Munster coach Tony McGahan has made ten changes to the team he selected for last week’s bonus point win over the Dragons.

With his squad rotation in full force, McGahan has rested hat-trick hero Keith Earls and brought in Denis Hurley at full-back.

Rua Tipoki links up again with Lifeimi Mafi in midfield, with Barry Murphy dropping to the replacements bench, while experienced duo Ronan O’Gara and Peter Stringer have been selected at half-back.

There is a completely new front row unit in Tony Buckley, Jerry Flannery and the aforementioned Hayes.

Paul O’Connell returns in the second row to captain the side, with Donncha O’Callaghan making way.

And in the final switches, Niall Ronan and Justin Melck take over from John O’Sullivan and David Wallace in the back row.

This will be the Cape Town-born Melck’s first competitive start in a Munster jersey.

Munster supporters are advised that Saturday’s game is a complete sell out, with no tickets available on the day.

Meanwhile, Cardiff Blues boss David Young has made nine changes to the team that edged Ulster 16-15 last weekend.

There are no starting places for Nicky Robinson and Tom Shanklin as recent signing Ceri Sweeney and the powerfully-built Jamie Roberts don the number 10 and 13 jerseys respectively.

Sweeney is part of a new-look half-back partnership, with New Zealander Jason Spice alongside him.

Teenager Leigh Halfpenny, a try scorer against Ulster, has a facial injury so Richard Mustoe will start on the right wing.

In the pack, Robin Sowden-Taylor, Andy Powell, Gareth Williams and Taufa’ao Filise are introduced. Sowden-Taylor steps in for his fellow international Martyn Williams, who has an ankle ligament injury.

Amongst the other players currently on the Blues’ injury list are Richie Rees (back), Xavier Rush (knee), Deiniol Jones (shoulder) and Tom James (groin).

MUNSTER: Denis Hurley; Doug Howlett, Lifeimi Mafi, Rua Tipoki, Ian Dowling; Ronan O’Gara, Peter Stringer; Tony Buckley, Jerry Flannery, John Hayes, Paul O’Connell (capt), Mick O’Driscoll, Donnacha Ryan, Niall Ronan, Justin Melck.

Replacements: Denis Fogarty, Federico Pucciariello, John O’Sullivan, Alan Quinlan, Mike Prendergast, Jeremy Manning, Barry Murphy.

CARDIFF BLUES: Ben Blair; Richard Mustoe, Jamie Robinson, Jamie Roberts, Gareth Thomas; Ceri Sweeney, Jason Spice; Gethin Jenkins, Gareth Williams, Taufa’ao Filise, Bradley Davies, Paul Tito (capt), Maama Molitika, Robin Sowden Taylor, Andy Powell.

Replacements: Gary Powell, Rhys Thomas, Scott Morgan, Mark Lewis, Darren Allinson, Nicky Robinson, Tom Shanklin.

Referee: Peter Allan (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: Alan Rogan, Richard Kerr (both Ireland)
TMO: Olan Trevor (Ireland)

Say What: Shaun Payne (Munster team manager) – “This week will be totally different (to the Dragons game). Quite honestly, I was disappointed with the Dragons, but Cardiff will be a different proposition.

“They have strengths in many areas of the team and their record against us is, well, quite impressive.

“It’s an opportunity for us to see how far we’ve progressed these past few weeks, because undoubtedly the opposition is going to get tougher from here on.”

David Young (Cardiff Blues) – “Certainly from our point of view you don’t have to talk Munster up.

“Everyone knows what a team they are. You don’t win the Heineken Cup with a poor side, do you?

“They have paid us a compliment of more or less putting their full hit out.”

Top Scorers: 2008/09 Magners League – Points: Munster: Paul Warwick 25; Cardiff Blues: Ben Blair 26; Tries: Munster: Keith Earls 4; Cardiff Blues: Ben Blair, Aled Brew, Leigh Halfpenny 1 each.


Friday, November 4, 2005 – Cardiff Blues 16 Munster 18, Arms Park
Saturday, May 27, 2006 – Munster 37 Cardiff Blues 8, Thomond Park
Friday, September 1, 2006 – Cardiff Blues 22 Munster 13, Arms Park
Friday, March 2, 2007 – Munster 12 Cardiff Blues 19, Musgrave Park
Friday, October 5, 2007 – Munster 17 Cardiff Blues 19, Musgrave Park
Saturday, March 1, 2008 – Cardiff Blues 25 Munster 22, Arms Park


– Munster have won three of their last four matches in the Magners League. Their only home defeat in any competition since last November was a 21-18 loss to Glasgow at Musgrave Park on May 10

– Munster have won six of their last seven encounters against the Welsh regions

– Cardiff have begun the season with an even record of a win, a draw and a loss from their three matches to date

– The Blues are unbeaten in their last six games against Irish opponents since a 24-17 defeat to Leinster at the RDS in February

– Cardiff have won their last four Magners League meetings with Munster and have won on their last two visits to Cork