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Magners Preview: Munster v Cardiff Blues

Magners Preview: Munster v Cardiff Blues

Two of Munster’s big hitters, John Hayes and Alan Quinlan, will be back in action for the province as they look to record their first win of the Magners League campaign at home to the Cardiff Blues. The Welsh region have lost on their last three visits to Limerick but have won five of the sides’ last six league meetings.

MAGNERS LEAGUE: Friday, September 11

MUNSTER (9th) v CARDIFF BLUES (6th), Thomond Park Stadium, 7.05pm (live Setanta Sports Ireland/BBC Wales)

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Team News: Alan Quinlan and John Hayes will make their seasonal debuts when Munster take on the Cardiff Blues at Thomond Park Stadium on Friday.

Hayes comes into the front row in place of Tony Buckley, while Quinlan takes over from Billy Holland. Both Buckley and Holland have been named on the bench.

The only other change in the starting line-up from the Glasgow game sees Barry Murphy retain the number 13 jersey, with Tom Gleeson, whom he replaced in the 63rd minute last weekend at Firhill Arena, dropping to the replacements.

Commenting on his return for Munster, Quinlan said: “I’m delighted to be pulling on that Munster shirt again. Really looking forward to the game.

“Pre-season has gone really well and I feel in good shape but it’s a big step up from training, a game like this and particularly when it’s against a quality side like Cardiff.

“But nevertheless I can’t wait to get out on the pitch,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ceri Sweeney has been given the nod to start at number 10 for the Blues on Friday, replacing Australian import Sam Norton-Knight who drops to the replacements bench.

2009 Lion Andy Powell is set to make his return to competitive action as a replacement, while John Yapp, Rhys Thomas, Taufa’ao Filise and Deiniol Jones have been brought in to bolster Cardiff’s pack.

MUNSTER: Felix Jones; Doug Howlett, Barry Murphy, Lifeimi Mafi, Denis Hurley; Jeremy Manning, Peter Stringer; Marcus Horan, Denis Fogarty, John Hayes, Mick O’Driscoll (capt), Donnacha Ryan, Alan Quinlan, Niall Ronan, Denis Leamy.

Replacements: Damien Varley, Tony Buckley, Billy Holland, Tommy O’Donnell, Toby Morland, Scott Deasy, Tom Gleeson.

CARDIFF BLUES: Ben Blair; Leigh Halfpenny, Gareth Thomas, Dafydd Hewitt, Chris Czekaj; Ceri Sweeney, Gareth Cooper; John Yapp, Rhys Thomas, Taufa’ao Filise, Deiniol Jones, Paul Tito, Ma’ama Molitika, Robin Sowden-Taylor, Xavier Rush.

Replacements: Gary Powell, Gareth Williams, Scott Morgan, Andy Powell, Richie Rees, Sam Norton-Knight, Dafydd James.

Referee: Peter Allan (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: Alan Rogan, Brian MacNeice (both Ireland)
Television Match Official: Sean Flannery (Ireland)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Munster to win: 4/9; Draw: 20/1; Cardiff Blues to win: 7/4

Say What: Shaun Payne (Munster) – “Alan (Quinlan) struggled tremendously with missing the Lions trip. I don’t know of a fellow who wanted to make trip to South Africa more.

“It was a crushing blow for him. He is training away and is having a great time at training.

“He is really looking forward to getting back on the pitch. He wants to pull on a jersey, get back on the pitch and get the disappointment behind him with a couple of good performances.

“The off-season was a struggle for him. But he has put it behind him and is training well.

“We were very disappointed with our overall display last week in Glasgow. The scrum didn’t go well for us at all. There is plenty of work to be done this week.

“We need to give credit to Glasgow. They are strong in that area.

“It was unusual to have two half-backs yellow carded during the course of the game. We shipped a number of penalties before the two yellow cards. Discipline is an area we will be looking at very closely as well.”

David Young (Cardiff Blues) – “The frustrating thing for me is, for season on season, we are awfully slow starters. I think last season, for the first three games we were very poor. You can’t peak for 10 months, but we certainly want to be better.

“The attitude from the players is to work harder. A few people wrote us off at the start of last season but we cracked on and got things right.

“Certainly for 50 minutes of the Edinburgh match last week we were only just hanging in there. However, we showed a lot of character to come back into the game.

“As I’ve told the players, when you hit top gear things become easy, but we are certainly far from top gear now.

“We did one or two things a lot better in the second half. Obviously we’ve got to build on the things we do well and work on other things.”


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
Saturday, September 20, 2008 – Munster 28 Cardiff Blues 20, Musgrave Park
Sunday, May 10, 2009 – Cardiff Blues 20 Munster 12, Arms Park


– Reigning Magners League champions Munster tripped up in Glasgow last Friday and have now lost two of their last three matches in the Magners League

– The Munstermen have won their last seven home games in all competitions since Ulster were victorious at Thomond Park Stadium on January 3 last

– The Cardiff Blues’ 22-21 loss to Edinburgh at the brand new Cardiff City Stadium made it three straight defeats for the Blues

– A Welsh side has not won at Thomond Park since the Dragons were the visitors on March 12, 2004

– The Blues have lost on each of their three previous visits to Limerick but have won on their last two trips to Ireland