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Dublin: 18 °C Sunday 25 August, 2019
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The glare of the limelight may have drifted along with many star players to the international scene, but the bread and butter of the Pro12 is still coming thick and fast.

Our undivided attention will be on TryFest 2012 – or Blues v Munster, as the locals call it – but we will also endeavour to bring you regular news of Edinburgh’s trip to Ravenhill.

Surely, nothing less than two wins will be the result for our provinces tonight.

As always, we’d love to hear from you, so send us your thoughts and comments on all the action.

E-mail us at sean@thescore.ie, tweet us @thescore_ie, post to our Facebook wall or leave a comment below.

Cardiff Blues 18 – 24 Munster

Ulster 45 – 20 Edinburgh

Good evening, folks. Have we got a treat in store for you?

… well, maybe.

Rob Penney’s men are in Cardiff looking to inflict another pasting to the Cardiff Blues.

We’re nearly ready for kick-off a the Arm’s Park. So, we won’t keep you waiting for the teams any longer.

Cardiff Blues: D Fish; T Williams, G Evans, D Hewitt, T James; J Tovey, L Jones; C Ma’afu, R Williams, T Filise; L Reed, J Down; R Copeland, J Navidi, A Pretorius.

Replacements: A Kyriacou, S Hobbs, R Harford, M Cook,  L Hamilton, R Lewis, C Sweeney, O Williams.

Munster: F Jones; D Howlett (c), C Laulala, I Keatley, L O’Dea; R O’Gara, D Williams; M Horan, M Sherry, S Archer; D Foley, B Holland; Dave O’Callaghan, S Dougall, T O’Donnell.

Replacements: D Varley, J Ryan, W du Preez, I Nagle, P Butler, P Stringer, D Barnes, J Murphy.

KICK-OFF: Jason Tovey gets the game underway and Munster take the ball on the left edge of their 22. They clear down-field through Keatley, but a barns-storming run from Tom James has the hosts on the front foot.

Felix Jones is penalised for going off his feet and Tovey will get a chance to open the scores from the left touchline.

A difficult kick for Tovey’s left foot, he dragged it across the face of goal and into the arms of Keatley, who takes charge again and clears upfield.

A drab, soggy night in Cardiff: young master O’Gara is in his element. Three times in the past two minutes he has turned the Blues’ back three. They have successfully claimed the ball and cleared, but if ROG is in the mood to dictate this game, then they could be in for  along evening.

The Blues, having being schooled, elected not to kick back a fourth time and make ground through James again before a smart break from Tovey draws Stephen Archer offside just outside the 22.

PENALTY: Cardiff 3 – 0 Munster (Tovey ’8)

TRY: Cardiff 3 – 7 Munster (O’Donnell 12)

Unperturbed by O’Gara’s presence, this try was all about Keatley and testimony to Munster’s Canterbury coaching contingent.

The centre for the night made an incisive break in midfield allowing the red shirts to flood through. As is becoming their trademark, they attacked on the right through Luke O’Dea before swiftly moving the ball back to the left wing.

Keatley was tackled five metres out, but as he fell to his knees, he got the offload away to his number eight and O’Donnell was able to orund the corner under the posts.

TRY: Ulster 0 – 7 Edinburgh (Brown ‘ 12)

YELLOW CARD: That’s Ronan O’Gara getting a 10-minute break. Cynically kicking into the side of a Blues ruck after another breakaway from James was stopped on halfway.

Nice wee breather for him, sure.

Munster had been weathering the Cardiff ‘storm’ nicely until Sherry’s line-out in enemy territory was lost. Dan Fish kicked on down field and came colose to collecting his own kick – he clutched it to his back with one hand for a few seconds – but the move ended with some scrappy passing and a knock-on.

Sean Dougall has been carried from the field. The flanker won’t be back tonight, anyway. He’s been replaced by Paddy Butler.

ROG is back. His first task is to hammer a penalty down the line after the Blues’ chasers are offside on halfway.

PENALTY: Cardiff 3 – 10 Munster (O’Gara 30)

Nice handy one for O’Gara after he puts Keatley into space and the hosts are pinged for sealing off in the middle of the 22.

ULSTER, WOW!

The northern province have racked up 21 points in little more than five minutes in Ravenhill

They levelled the scores with a penalty try off a scrum before Jared Payne put them seven clear after a fine break from Craig Gilroy.

Obviously, it wouldn’t be an Ulster rout without Ruan Pienaar getting in on the act. For the second week in a row he’s shown how valuable a tall fly-half can be, charging down a kick to steal another score for himself.

Even since that, Brown has grounded his second try for the visitors to narrow the gap back to seven.

LATEST: Ulster 24 – 17 Edinburgh

HALF TIME: Cardiff 3 – 10 Munster

The Blues have succeeded in keeping the game scrappy since Munster’s last penalty. The absence of Sean Dougall hasn’t helped the visitors, but they have enjoyed the better territory.

As they have shown in the past fortnight, Munster will come strong in the second half, but they can’t ask much more from Ian Keatley, he has been a shining light in the opening 40.

HALF TIME: Ulster 24 – 17 Edinburgh

No more tries in the five minutes we glanced away from Ravenhill, Ulster will expect to keep their winning run going with a bonus point in the second 40.

O’Gara is just about to get the second half underway in Wales. Meanwhile, in Belfast: Edinburgh have started the second half like the first. Ulster coming under pressure to their line again.

Cardiff building a nice set of phases on the edge and into the Munster 22. Keatley escaped unpunished with a high looking tackle and the move ends with a knock-on.

Ceri Sweeney is in the game, Tovey makes way.

TRY: Cardiff 10 -10 Munster (Hewitt ’45)

Cardiff win the scrum and quickly spin left to Sweeney, who picks his centre Dafydd Hewitt on a lovely line. He breaks Keatley’s tackle and charges over.

So will Munster’s worrying away form continue?

They have 30 minutes to take their second road win of the season. Their only previous victory away from Thomond this term was on the opening night in Edinburgh.

Rob Penney has just the man to help them over the line. Peter Stringer is on the field in place of Duncan Williams, another difficult night for the young half back.

Worrying news from Ravenhill… no, not that Edinburgh narrowed the gap to four points.

Stephen Ferris was helped off the field after an apparent ankle injury. We’ll find out more on that in the coming hour or two folks.

TRY: Ulster 31 – 20 Edinburgh (Wilson ‘ 57)

There’s the bonus point and the first score of the second coming of Roger Wilson who dives into the corner and is given the score with a little help from the TMO.

Pienaar lands yet another conversion. Let’s hope he doesn’t have a part to play at the Aviva next week.

PENALTY: Cardiff 13 – 10 Munster (Sweeney ’59)

Fine work from Josh Navidi forces a penalty as Felix Jones is spotted holding onto the ball.

20 minutes to go now…

TRY: Cardiff Blues 13 – 17 Munster (O’Donnell ’61)

Far from being content with one try for the night, Tommy O’Donnell has just galloped through the blue defence to ground the ball under the posts.

Munster attacked with extra vigour on the right flank and, as he received the ball 30 metres out, O’Gara dummied before spotting a gap for his number eight. O’Donnell broke two tackles on the 22 and accelerated past the would-be cover tackles to ground the score for seven points.

TRY: Cardiff 18 – 17 Munster (Jones ’63)

Oh dear. Peter Stringer’s box kick is blocked down and he is beaten in a race to the corner. Big 15 minutes coming.

The hosts look close to feral now as they sniff the potential of a first win since September. Munster are desperately putting in the tackles to keep them at bay and they currently have a put-in 15 metres from their own try-line after a Cardiff knock-on.

TRY: Ulster 38 – 20 (Payne ’70)

The tries keep on coming up north…

It’s time-off in the Arm’s Park as blue shirts call out for some medical attention. Munster remain stuck inside their own 22, but they’ve won a penalty off the latest scrum and O’Gara has pushed play up-field slightly.

TRY: Cardiff 18 – 24 Munster (Laulala ’28)

The visitors carried the fight bravely and won another penalty for offside allowing ROG to bring play up to the 30 metre point.
Varley”s line-out was impeccable and Stringer fed O’Gara who replayed a move from a minute previous, letting Laulala hit the line on his inside shoulder.

The Blues didn’t learn their lesson and Laulala romped through and over the line to seal a dramatic, if unimpressive, win.

FULL TIME:  Cardiff 18 – 24 Munster

There you have it, kids. Munster win away for the first time since the opening night of the season, but they could hardly have left it any later.

FULL TIME: Ulster 45 – 20 Edinburgh

Craig Gilroy adds Ulster’s sixth try. Still unbeaten – the only side in Europe’s big three leagues who can claim that.

Well, that’s it from me for tonight folks and folk-ettes. Two wins from two a decent return, but Munster will be disappointed to (in Brent Pope parlance) give the suckers and even break.

G’Night.

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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