Down, but not out. Munster fell to defeat against the Cardiff Blues yesterday but managed to squeeze through to the semi-finals of the Magners League thanks to a hard-fought losing bonus point.
Twelve points from the boot of man-of-the-match Ronan O'Gara eventually proved enough for the reigning champions who led for most of the second half but threw away the win in the dying embers of the game.
Coach Tony McGahan had mixed feelings after the match, commenting: “We were very disappointed to lose the game. But I thought the players showed tremendous courage to back up after last week. To lose a semi-final takes a lot out of everyone, management and players alike. To grind out a result, albeit a one-point was loss, was a tremendous effort.”
McGahan had every reason to be pleased with his side who played astutely for much of the game, even if they started rather nervously as Cardiff raced into the lead.
Ronan O'Gara pegged back Cardiff’s lead with two well struck penalties and then scored another as the break approached to send Munster into halftime with an unlikely 12-10 lead.
Cardiff took the lead in the second half from a Leigh Halfpenny penalty and came on strong to force a try, but came up just short in the end.
In all, a disappointing end for both sides, but Munster at least will fight to live another day, against Leinster next weekend.