Conor Oliver’s late try helped Munster continue their impressive PRO12 form following a 23-13 triumph over Cardiff Blues.
The first half was a tight and tense battle and it was no surprise to see the only points scored by the respective kickers. Steven Shingler slotted two penalties to Rory Scannell’s one as the Blues went into the interval 6-3 ahead.
Aled Summerhill and Francis Saili traded tries at the start of the second period before Scannell levelled proceedings in the final quarter.
Scannell then took the visitors in front and Oliver secured the victory a minute later, crossing the whitewash unopposed.
Munster went into the game significantly weakened because of the Six Nations and they were further hampered following the departure of fly-half Ian Keatley.
Scannell had to move to 10 but he could only watch when his opposite number, Blues centre Shingler, put the hosts ahead after 20 minutes.
However, the Irish province’s stand-in pivot was soon in the action as the pack won a scrum penalty and the 23-year-old levelled matters.
With mistakes aplenty, chances were few and far between and it was left to the kickers to accrue the points. After being successful with his first effort, Scannell began to struggle off the tee and Shingler showed him how it should be done, giving the Blues a 6-3 lead going into the break.
Rassie Erasmus'’ men began the second period on the front foot and they were handed a further boost via Willis Halaholo’s yellow card, whose high tackle on Andrew Conway justifiably earned him 10 minutes off the field.
That should have provided the visitors with added impetus, but it initially had the opposite effect. In trying to force the play while Halaholo was in the bin, Summerhill easily read a stray pass and scampered across the line.
Despite that setback, there was an immediate retort from Munster. Saili, who was the player to come on for Keatley, spotted a gaping hole at a ruck and scythed through for a crucial converted try.
Scannell equalised from in front of the posts going into the final 13 minutes and they then went in search of the winning score. Munster’s pressure was eventually rewarded when Scannell kicked a drop-goal and Oliver raced away to complete a 10-point victory.
Pens: Shingler 2
Yellow Card: Halaholo
Tries: Saili, Oliver
Cons: Scannell 2
Pens: Scannell 2
Drop Goal: Scannell
Cardiff Blues: 15 Matthew Morgan, 14 Aled Summerhill, 13 Willis Halaholo, 12 Steven Shingler, 11 Tom James, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Lloyd Williams (c), 8 Nick Williams, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Macauley Cook, 5 Jarrad Hoeata, 4 George Earle, 3 Anton Peikrishvili, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Corey Domachowski
Replacements: 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Marc Thomas, 18 Taufa’ao Filise, 19 James Down, 20 Sion Bennett, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Garyn Smith, 23 Rhun Williams
Munster: 15 Andrew Conway, 14 Darren Sweetnam, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Ronan O’Mahony, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Tommy O’Donnell, 6 Dave O’Callaghan, 5 Billy Holland (c), 4 Darren O’Shea, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Dave Kilcoyne
Replacements: 16 Kevin O’Byrne, 17 Peter McCabe, 18 Brian Scott, 19 Fineen Wycherley, 20 Conor Oliver, 21 Abrie Griesel, 22 Dan Goggin, 23 Francis Saili
Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: Emmanuele Tomò, Jon Hardy
TMO: Jim Yuille (Scotland)