Rugby Union: Jarvis goes the distance

Cardiff 43 Munster 23
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The Irish provinces have been raising a few eyebrows in the Heineken Cup but Cardiff were too highbrow for Munster yesterday, scoring six tries to three.

Nigel Walker scored two of the best of them to set up Cardiff's crucial victory but the most incredulous roar was reserved for Lee Jarvis. On the stroke of half-time the Cardiff outside-half chose to kick at goal from his own 10-metre line and the ball sailed over the bar for the longest penalty ever seen at the ground.

After losing to Bourgoin by a point last week, Cardiff could not afford another defeat and they made the perfect start. Their attacking play from set-pieces has been a highlight of their performances so far this season and it was from a scrum in the fifth minute that Leigh Davies and Matthew Silva brilliantly set up Walker for a classic try.

Within 10 minutes Cardiff were 12-0 ahead, the skipper Jon Humphreys crashing over after good work by Steve Williams and Steve Wake.

The Davies-Walker partnership was in full flow again, the former making a half-break with the latter rounding it off with a dazzling side-step. However, as Walker sprinted over the Munster line he pulled a hamstring and had to leave the field. All Munster had to show for a frustrating first half were two penalties by the stand-off Ronan O'Gara.

With the wind at their backs, Munster made a more spirited showing in the second half and scored their first try within a minute of the restart. O'Gara hoisted a Garry Owen which Silva never looked like catching and although Killian Keane was tackled as he was about to pounce on the loose ball, Alan Quinlan was on hand to touch down.

A few minutes later Wake exploited a weak defence to score a solo try around the blind side of a wall, leaving three Irishmen behind him. Munster had far more to gain in the second half and their right-wing John Lacey scored a try that matched the efforts of Walker when he was smartly released by his centres, then cut inside to cross over beneath the posts.

Whenever Munster looked like making it uncomfortable for Cardiff their handling and, at times, naivety played into the Welshmen's hands. Steve Williams scored a soft try from an interception and then added another from a close-range line-out.

The impressive Lacey had the last word, astutely chipping ahead and he made a far better job of controlling the rolling ball than the Cardiff defence to score his second try of the match.

Cardiff, who beat Munster 48-18 in the corresponding match last season, were generally too streetwise for their opponents and Derwyn Jones held sway at the line-out. Nevertheless, the Cardiff coaches will not be overjoyed at the breaches made in their defence, particularly by Quinlan and Eddie Halvey.

Jarvis, who landed six kicks out of eight, was named the man of the match but it can only be because of his monstrous 70-yard penalty. Three more worthy candidates for the honour were Walker, Lacey and Quinlan.

Cardiff: M Silva; N Walker (G Barnard, 34), L Davies, G Jones, S Hill; L Jarvis, S Wake (J Hewlett, 73); A Lewis, J Humphreys (captain), L Mustoe (D Young, 67), T Rees, D Jones (E Lewis, 65), G Cacala, S Williams, G Jones (M Bennett, 78).

Munster: D Crotty; J Lacey, K Keane, R Ellison, A Horgan; R O'Gara, B O'Meara; I Murray (G Walsh, 72), McDermott, P Clohessy, M Galwey (captain), U O'Callaghan, E Halvey, A Foley, A Quinlan.

Referee: B Campsall (England).