Cardiff Blues 11 Munster 20
MUNSTER saw off a game Cardiff Blues in their Pro14 tie at the Cardiff Arms Park on Friday night, with the returning out-half Joey Carbery kicking a late conversion to guarantee the win.
The home side opened the scoring in the 11th minute, with half-backs Jamie Hill and Ben Thomas combining to send second row Seb Davies through the Munster cover with a pair of fizzing flat passes, after some slick handling by the Blues in the build-up.
Munster clearly came to Cardiff’s artificial pitch to run the ball, with hooker Kevin O’Byrne seemingly everywhere in the opening half-hour, but the only reward they got on the scoreboard was from a JJ Hanrahan penalty in the 27th minute to reduce the arrears to 5-3.
The Blues registered a three-pointer from a Thomas penalty from straight in front of the Munster posts in the 36th minute, but Hanrahan almost immediately cancelled out the effort with a simple penalty of his own in the 39th minute, to leave the score at 8-6 to the home side at half time.
Hanrahan had an opportunity to give Munster the lead in the 43rd minute but his penalty effort struck the right upright.
The Blues were able to clear their lines, and nine minutes later Cardiff’s out-half Ben Thomas slotted a penalty from distance to give his side a five-point lead.
This lead did not last long, however, with Munster second row Jean Kleyn scoring from close range in the 54th minute, after Hanrahan had instigated the move with a delightful chip over the top which he gathered himself.
His conversion was a simple one, and Munster led for the first time.
Munster had a pair of let-offs at this juncture with Thomas missing two penalties for Cardiff, with the second one coming back off the post.
Munster scored a brilliant maul try in the 78th minute, with Niall Scannell credited with the touchdown, and the comeback kid Carbery had the final say with a super conversion from the touchline to secure victory.
Thomas (2 pens), Davies (1 try).
Hanrahan (2 pens, 1 con), Carbery (1 con), Kleyn and N. Scannell (1 try each).
Morgan, Lane, Grady, Lee-Lo, Summerhill; Thomas, Hill; Domachowski, Myhill, Arhip, Davies, Thornton, Lewis-Hughes, Jenkins, Turnbull (c).
Belcher for Myhill (40), Ratti and Robinson for Davies and Lewis-Hughes (61), Assiratti and Jones for Arhip and Hill (65), Bevacqua for Domachowski (72).
Haley; Nash, R. Scannell, de Allende, Daly; Hanrahan, McCarthy; Cronin, O’Byrne, Ryan; Kleyn, Wycherley; O’Donoghue (Capt), Cloete, O’Sullivan.
O’Connor, Salanoa and N. Scannell for Cronin, Ryan and O’Byrne (52), Holland, Coombes and Carbery for Wycherley, O’Donoghue and R. Scannell (63), Ryan for Salanoa (72), Sweetnam for Nash (74).
Adam Jones (Wales).