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Munster send Cardiff to fifth straight defeat

30 Mar 2024 3 minute read
Cardiff Rugby

Jack Crowley scored a second-half try and kicked the clinching 74th-minute penalty in Munster’s 20-15 United Rugby Championship win over Cardiff at Thomond Park.

Ben Thomas and replacement Thomas Young both crossed to give Cardiff a 12-10 lead on the hour mark but they could not avoid a fifth straight league loss.

A lone Crowley penalty had Munster leading 3-0 at half-time, with the hosts frustrated by nine handling errors across the opening 35 minutes.

Munster captain Tadhg Beirne and Thomas swapped tries, with the latter running in a fine intercept effort, before Young profited from John Ryan’s sin-binning to score from a maul.

Player-of-the-match Crowley scrambled over and finished with 15 points, albeit replacement Jacob Beetham’s late penalty gave Cardiff a deserved bonus point.


Cardiff flanker Ellis Jenkins was the first half’s dominant figure, showing his trademark ability at the breakdown but also spearheading some promising attacking phases.

Back from leading Ireland to Six Nations glory, Peter O’Mahony was involved in an early scuffle which got the home crowd fired up.

Jenkins and Mackenzie Martin forced penalties at the breakdown to thwart Munster and a Mike Haley knock-on ruled out a 20th-minute try for John Hodnett.

It was end-to-end stuff at times and with the error count still high, Crowley punished a Tinus de Beer offside to kick the first points in the 38th minute.

Having blown a lineout opportunity before the interval, the Munster pack were rewarded eight minutes into the second period when Beirne burrowed over after back-to-back penalties.

Crowley’s conversion was followed by more cohesive attacking, yet a 10-phase attack was ruined by Thomas swooping on a Craig Casey pass to speed clear and score under the posts.


With de Beer adding the extras, Cardiff held on to the momentum and skipper Liam Belcher was lifted in a dangerous cleanout by Ryan who saw yellow.

A strong lineout drive saw Young make it 12-10, only for 14-man Munster to respond quickly as Crowley evaded a couple of tackles and muscled his way over beside the posts.

The Ireland fly-half topped off his own try and Munster tightened up their defence, forcing a key knock-on near their own line before Crowley split the posts with the decisive penalty.

The result moved Graham Rowntree’s men back above the Stormers into fourth place but Beetham’s long-range kick made sure 12th-placed Cardiff pocketed a point on the road.

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