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Evolving Munster can pile Blues back on Cardiff


Musgrave Park, Tomorrow, 7.30 RTE2

AMAZINGLY, there are five clubs in the PRO12 League with a win-loss record of 8-4 and they occupy places second-to-sixth.

Take runaway leaders Ulster out of the equation and you have a very competitive, interesting struggle for the second home semi-final slot and the two away semi-final places that third and fourth will eventually bring.

Munster have won five of their last six matches in the PRO12 to creep into third on the table at a time of change. To win in transition is impressive. To win while playing decidedly averagely is an even greater compliment to their coach Rob Penney and the belief of the players in him. At some point, Munster will have to click into gear or they will be brushed aside at the business end of the season, in both competitions. Cardiff have had nothing but 'the blues' for the past few seasons. Dai Young moved to London Wasps last season. They have moved sluggishly this term. While Cardiff's four-game losing run in all competitions was snapped at home to Newport Gwent Dragons on St Stephen's Day, they have lost three of their four clashes with Irish provinces this season. Cardiff has not turned Munster over away from home since October 2007 and they have lost out in their last six to the Southern Province. There is no reason to believe that will change tomorrow.

Munster: F Jones; D Howlett capt, K Earls, J Downey, J Murphy; R O'Gara, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, M Sherry, S Archer; D Foley, D Ryan; T O'Donnell, S Dougall, J Coughlan. VERDICT: Munster