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Dublin: 8°C Thursday 25 February 2021
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JJ Hanrahan stars as Munster claim bonus-point win in Cardiff

It ended a two-year wait for a victory at the Arms Park for the visitors.

Munster's JJ Hanrahan kicks a conversion.
Munster's JJ Hanrahan kicks a conversion.
Image: Rogan Thompson/INPHO

Cardiff Blues 23

Munster 33

Rob Cole reports from Cardiff Arms Park

MUNSTER SCORED SEVEN times in their eight visits into the Cardiff Blues 22 as they put the Welsh region to the sword.

The bonus-point victory ended a two-year wait for a win at the Arms Park for the visitors and fully vindicated head coach Johann van Graan’s decision to make 11 changes from the side that had beaten the Ospreys the previous weekend.

JJ Hanrahan, named as man of the match, kicked 13 points and made the break that set up the bonus-point try. Meanwhile, Alby Mathewson scored two tries and combined with his half-back partner to run the show.

Jarrod Evans kicked the Blues, who had first use of the strong wind and driving rain, into the lead, although opposite number Hanrahan matched his effort seven minutes later. Evans made it 6-3, before Munster came up with the first try of the night.

Dan Goggin made the initial cut, Darren O’Shea andMathewson carried on and finally, Chris Cloete used his power to burrow over for a try that Hanrahan improved. The Munster fly-half stretched the lead to seven points with another penalty, but it was 13-13 by the break, as the Blues forced Corey Domachowski over with the last move of the half and Evans converted.

Evans put his side back in front seven minutes into the second half when he landed his third penalty, but there was an emphatic response from Munster. Hanrahan put O’Byrne through a hole and once they were in the home 22, the visitors were clinical, as they worked Mathewson over for a try that Hanrahan once again converted.

They picked up another try from wing Calvin Nash on their next incursion into the home 22 to open up a nine-point lead and give themselves 20 minutes to chase the bonus-point. It didn’t take long for it to come.

Hanrahan broke out of his 22, linked with Mathewson and the scrum half stayed in support of Dan Goggin to take a return pass and grab his second try. Nick Williams grabbed a consolation try at the death for the Blues, who slipped to their fourth successive defeat and now trail Munster by 14 points in Conference B..

Scorers: Cardiff Blues: Tries: C Domachowski, N Williams; Con: J Evans, J Tovey; Pens: J Evans 3. Munster: Try: A Mathewson 2, C Cloete, C Nash; Cons: JJ Hanrahan 2; Pens: JJ Hanrahan 3

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Cardiff Blues: M Morgan; J Harries, R Lee-Lo, G Smith (W Halaholo 50), A Summerhill; J Evans (J Tovey 71), L Williams (captain, L Jones 70); C Domachowski (B Thyer 59), K Dacey (K Myhill 41), S Andrews (K Assiratti 61), J Turnbull, R Thornton, S Lewis-Hughes (N Williams 59), O Robinson (S Davies 50), W Boyde (S Lewis-Hughes 77)

Munster: S Daly; C Nash, S Arnold, D Goggin (T Bleyendaal 70), A Wootton (R Scannell 41); JJ Hanrahan, A Mathewson (N McCarthy 68); J Loughman, K O’Byrne (D Barron 75), K Knox (S Archer 52), F Wycherley, D O’Shea (J Holloway 58), J O’Donoghue (captain), C Cloete (C Oliver 59), A Botha
Reps Unused: L O’Connor

Referee: Stuart Berry (SARU)

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