Blues see off Munster

Date published: March 18 2016

Munster’'s play-off hopes were dented as Cardiff Blues went away with a 37-28 bonus-point victory in the PRO12.

Ian Keatley’'s penalty and Darren Sweetnam’'s try moved the Irish province into an 8-0 advantage, but Blues hit back to lead at the break.

Rhys Patchell scored a three-pointer and Macauley Cook touched down as the Welsh region went 10-8 in front.

Keatley and Patchell traded penalties at the start of the second period before the hosts’ hooker Matthew Rees powered over for a nine-point buffer.

Mike Sherry'’s effort kept the visitors in contention but tries by Garyn Smith and Patchell made the result safe for Cardiff, despite Jack O’'Donoghue’'s late touchdown.

The Blues have once again struggled this season, winning just seven of their games going into this encounter. Against a Munster side searching for the play-offs, the hosts were under pressure early on as Anthony Foley’'s men stormed into an 8-0 lead.

Keatley opened the scoring for the visitors before Rory Scannell and Francis Saili combined to send Sweetnam across the whitewash for his first PRO12 try.

Just six minutes had elapsed when the wing touched down and it appeared as though the Welsh region were in for a long evening.

However, they regained their composure and responded via the boot of Patchell. Blues then pressed the opposition line and went close, but excellent defence by Billy Holland initially repelled the threat.

The Irish province’'s rearguard was eventually breached and it was back-rower Cook who was the one to scamper over after Josh Navidi had sent him clear.

Patchell was on target with the conversion to move the Blues 10-8 ahead at the interval and the fly-half was successful off the tee minutes into the second period for a five-point buffer.

Although Keatley reduced the deficit with a penalty, quick thinking at a lineout allowed Rees to touch down for the hosts.

It was proving to be a topsy-turvy second half and Sherry kept the game in the balance as the hooker benefited from a dominant driving maul.

Momentum was now with Foley'’s team but it was taken away when Cardiff centre Smith stripped the ball in midfield and sprinted over the whitewash unopposed.

Evidently irked by that score, they pressed for a response and, despite excellent resistance from the home side, they conceded a penalty and Jonny Holland moved Munster to within six.

However, the Blues kept them out and Patchell effectively secured the victory for the hosts with a try. The Irish province looked to have managed a losing bonus point through O’'Donoghue but the Welsh region, via Jarrod Evans, kicked a late penalty and went away with the win.

The scorers:

For Blues:
Tries: Cook, Rees, Smith, Patchell
Cons: Patchell 4
Pens: Patchell, J Evans

For Munster:
Tries: Sweetnam, Sherry, O'Donoghue
Cons: Keatley, Holland
Pens: Keatley 2, Holland

Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Aled Summerhill, 13 Garyn Smith, 12 Rey Lee-Lo, 11 Blaine Scully, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Josh Navidi, 7 Ellis Jenkins, 6 Macauley Cook, 5 Josh Turnbull, 4 Cam Dolan, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Matthew Rees (c), 1 Brad Thyer
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Taufa'ao Filise, 19 Lou Reed, 20 Manoa Vosawai, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Jarrod Evans, 23 Gavin Evans

Munster: 15 Andrew Conway, 14 Darren Sweetnam, 13 Francis Saili, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Ronan O'Mahony, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Dave O'Callaghan, 6 Jack O'Donoghue, 5 Billy Holland (c) 4 Dave Foley, 3 John Ryan, 2 Mike Sherry, 1 James Cronin
Replacements: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Sean McCarthy, 20 Jordan Coghlan, 21 Cathal Sheridan, 22 Johnny Holland, 23 David Johnston

Referee: David Wilkinson (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Ian Davies (Wales), Gwyn Morris (Wales)
TMO: John Charles (Wales)