Jack Crowley’s first Munster try helps province to narrow win over Cardiff

Ireland outhalf stepped his way to a second half score as the province prevails in a five-point victory at Thomond Park

URC: Munster 20 Cardiff 15

Jack Crowley said he was delighted to score his first Munster try but felt it shouldn’t have come down to that as they had to dig deep to see off a battling Cardiff side at Thomond Park.

The reigning URC champions struggled for long periods and had to come from behind in the final quarter to carve out victory against a Cardiff side who pushed them all the way in search of their first win in eleven visits to Thomond Park.

“It has been a long time coming. I was delighted to get across but it is something we didn’t want it to come down to. Cardiff made it extremely difficult for us,” said Crowley.

“We are disappointed with a few errors that we made and opportunities we did not take. We will have to be on it for Northampton next week.”


Munster were forced into a late change with double World Cup-winner RG Snyman was forced to withdraw due to sickness. Tom Ahern came in for the Springbok, with Jack Daly added to the bench as the champions sought to boost their chances of a home quarter-final.

After a scoreless opening quarter, John Hodnett and the Munster following thought he had broken the deadlock when they pounced on a knock-on by Cardiff tighthead Kieron Assiratti, with the ball quickly played through the hands for Antoine Frisch to put the flanker over in the left corner, but on review Mike Haley was pinged for a knock-on as he tried to gather a pass from Sean O’Brien.

Munster almost paid the price for the absence of a pillar in midfield but while flanker Ellis Jenkins broke, his chip bounced unkindly for the chasing scrumhalf Ellis Bevan and his counterpart Craig Casey got back to clean up.

Both sides were guilty of sloppy handling on a dry night for rugby, with Munster registering eight handling errors to five for Cardiff in the opening 32 minutes.

As a result, scoring chances were at a premium between two sides who went into this contest with huge scoring returns in the opening quarter of games this season.

Crowley eventually broke the deadlock two minutes from the break. Cardiff scrumhalf Bevan was nabbed and from the turnover his halfback partner Tinus de Beer was offside as Crowley tried to counter. The Munster outhalf, who came into the game with a record of 15 out of 17 kicks in the league, made no mistake from 30 metres in front of the posts to lead 3-0 at the interval after they lost the lineout from a 50:22 from Shane Daly’s grubber down the left wing.

Munster finally got their act together in the third quarter. They went for the left corner with a penalty in front of the posts after Mann had strayed offside and while Cardiff defended the first effort, a second penalty led to a good lineout take from O’Mahony and skipper Tadhg Beirne supplied the finish after the third drive, with Crowley converting to lead 10-0 after 48 minutes.

However, Cardiff hit back and centre Ben Thomas intercepted a pass from Casey to Beirne and ran from his own 22 to score under the posts. Tinus de Beer converted and then after replacement tighthead John Ryan was binned for a dangerous clearout, Cardiff hit the front after going to the corner and getting the drive for hooker Liam Belcher to score.

De Beer narrowly missed the conversion but it left Cardiff 12-10 in front going into the last quarter before Crowley seized the initiative to jink his way over by the posts while they had an advantage 16 minutes from the end.

He converted and landed a late penalty to seal the win but Cardiff escaped with a deserved bonus point when Liam Beetham landed a penalty shortly after coming on in the dying moments.

Scoring sequence: 3 mins: Crowley pen 3-0; Half-time: 3-0; 48: Beirne try, Crowley con 10-0; 55: Thomas try, de Beer con 10-7; 60: Belcher try 10-12; 64: Crowley try and con 17-12; 75: Crowley pen 20-12; 78: Beetham pen 20-15; Full-time: 20-15

Munster: M Haley; S O’Brien, A Frisch, A Nankivell, S Daly; J Crowley, C Casey; J Loughman, N Scannell, S Archer; T Ahern, T Beirne (capt); P O’Mahony, J Hodnett, G Coombes.

Replacements: J Carbery for Nankivell (56 mins), J Ryan for Archer, J Wycherley for Loughman (both 58 mins), E Clarke for Scannell (65 mins), S Zebo for Haley, A Kendellen for Ahern (both 72 mins), E Coughlan for Casey, J Daly for O’Mahony (both 76 mins).

Cardiff: C Winnett; O Lane, M Grady, B Thomas, J Adams; T de Beer, E Bevan; C Domachowski, L Belcher (capt), K Assiratti; B Donnell, S Davies; A Mann, E Jenkins, M Martin.

Replacements: R Carré for Domachowski (48 mins), T Young for Jenkins (49 mins), T Cabango for Lane (56 mins), M Aubrey for Bevan, W Davies-King for Assirati, R Thornton for Davies (all 65 mins), E Lloyd for Belcher (66 mins), L Beetham for Thomas (78 mins).

Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)