Munster vs Cardiff Blues by Sebmc
At home, Munster has five wins and two losses. Only twice in their seven home game they exceeded the handicap against the Zebra and against Leinster.
This team is clearly on the decline compared to previous seasons. Indeed, for the first time since the 2010-2011 season, the Irish will not participate in the quarterfinals of the Heineken Cup.
For this meeting, Munster is very weakened because they will have to do without their international players among which are several major players like Luke Fitzgerald, O'Donnell, Zebo, Peter O'Mahony, Connor Murray and Paul O'Connell.
To this list,we can add the injured players who are very numerous: Cian Bohane, Alan Cotter, Johnny Holland, Johne Murphy, Barry O'Mahony, Donnacha Ryan, Mike Sherry, CJ Stander, Gerhard van den Heever.
In addition, Munster must do without three hookers Damien Varley, Mike Sherry Duncan and Casey, all injured! It is therefore the Argentinian Eusebio Guinazu, who played very little this season who will starr.
The only good news for Munster is that its international Ian Keatley and Keith Earls have not been selected for the match against France.
The tback row is also new look with the hope Jack O'Donoghue who hold the position of number 8. He will be accompanied by the usual substitutes Dave O'Callaghan and Sean Dougall. Back line is not bad although I prefer Connor Murray to Duncan Williams as 9.
The bench is very weak with youngster Niall Scannell in hooker Dave Kilcoyne who returned from injury, youngster Shane Buckley as flanker or the youngster Rory Scannell in the center.
Cardiff has made a very poor start to the season with one win on the first eight games. Since they are a little caught up and remain on three victories over the last five meetings. Away, Cardiff has lost three of its six games. Among the good results they have done a draw 24-24 match on the lawn of Connacht.
Cardiff is not really affected by the international games as only Sam Warburton and Alex Cuthbert will really miss to the team. In addition, the opener Rhys Patchell was released by the Welsh coach Gatland. So, the first row and the third ruch are much strongeer and more powerful than the Munstermen. They should be stronger in scrum. The bench also seems slightly stronger than Munster.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Richard Smith, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Lucas Amorosino, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lloyd Williams; 1 Sam Hobbs, 2 Matthew Rees (c), 3 Adam Jones, 4 Macauley Cook, 5 Filo Paulo, 6 Josh Turnbull Josh Navidi 7, 8 Manoa Vosawai
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Taufa'ao Filise, 19 Miles Normandale, 20 Ellis Jenkins, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Tom Isaacs
Cardiff has better forwards than Munster while Munster has the best back line. However, in rugby, forwards are much more important. The match will be very tight, I'd put handicap of 8 points.
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