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Dublin: 6°C Saturday 8 May 2021

Battling Munster top Pro12 table after beating the Blues

Munster twice came from 10 points down to record a win.

Tomas O'Leary and Craig Mitchell.
Tomas O'Leary and Craig Mitchell.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Munster 35

Cardiff Blues 27

MUNSTER TWICE CAME from ten points down to maintain their winning start to the season.

The victory takes them top of the table after they did well to get back into contention after Cardiff Blues had twice forged ahead.

The Welsh deservedly led 17-14 at the interval and could have been further ahead had Rhys Patchell not missed three penalty attempts in the opening ten minutes.

He eventually found the target after 16 minutes and was then instrumental along with winger Garyn Smith in sending scrum-half Tavis Knoyle in under the posts for the opening try after 24 minutes.

Patchell converted to make it 10-0 before Munster finally got moving.

They clawed their way back by building a few phases and stretching the Cardiff cover for Francis Saili to swing a big pass wide for hooker Mike Sherry to score.

Ian Keatley landed the conversion from the left to cut the gap to 10-7 after 28 minutes.

Dave Kilcoyne was stopped just short of the Blues line three minutes from the break but scrum-half Duncan Williams fed Keatley and he stepped inside centre Gavin Evans to score, with his conversion making it 14-10.

But Cardiff, playing their third match in Ireland since the start of the season, hit back before the break with Patchell sending Richard Smith over in the left corner before converting to make it 17-14 to the visitors at the interval.

Munster’s plight became worse four minutes after the restart when centre Tom Isaacs punished slack defending to score Cardiff’s third try, with Patchell’s conversion putting ten points between the sides again.

Mike Sherry scores a try Mike Sherry scores a try. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Sherry’s second try after 54 minutes after a good maul off a lineout cut the gap.

Munster piled on the pressure after that and while James Cronin knocked on over the line, Anthony Foley’s men got the squeeze on in the resultant scrum and replacement Jordan Coghlan pounced for his first try since moving south from Leinster to secure the bonus point.

Keatley added his fourth conversion to put Munster four points ahead with 18 minutes remaining, but Patchell cut that to the minimum nine minutes from time with another penalty.

But Munster wrapped it when Andrew Conway got his first try of the campaign when he scored in the left corner after a good move, with Keatley landing his fifth conversion from the touchline to seal the win.

Scorers for Munster:
Tries: M Sherry (2), I Keatley, J Coghlan, A Conway
Pens: I Keatley
Cons: I Keatley (5)
Scorers for Cardiff Blues:
Tries: T Knoyle, R Smith, T Isaacs
Pens: R Patchell (2)
Cons: R Patchell (3)

Munster XV

15. Andrew Conway
14. Shane Monahan
13. Francis Saili
12. Rory Scannell
11. Gerhard van den Heever
10. Ian Keatley
9. Duncan Williams

1. Dave Kilcoyne
2. Mike Sherry
3. BJ Botha
4. Mark Chisholm
5. Dave Foley
6. Dave O’Callaghan
7. Jack O’Donoghue
8. CJ Stander (Captain)

21. Tomás O’Leary for Williams (52)
17. James Cronin for Kilcoyne (52)
20. Jordan Coghlan for O’Donoghue (52)
16. Niall Scannell for Sherry (70)
22. Dennis Hurley for Scannell (71)
19. Robin Copeland for Chisholm (71)
23. Dave Johnson for Conway (74)
18. John Ryan for Botha (74)

Cardiff Blues XV

15. Dan Fish
14. Garyn Smith
13. Tom Isaacs
12. Gavin Evans
11. Richard Smith
10. Rhys Patchell
9. Tavis Knoyle

1. Sam Hobbs
2. Matthew Rees (Captain)
3. Craig Mitchell
4. Lou Reed
5. James Down
6. Josh Turnbull
7. Ellis Jenkins
8. Manoa Vosawai

17. Kristian Dacey for Rees (50)
20. Jevon Groves for Jenkins (52)
22. Gareth Davis for Evan (58)
19. Macauley Cook for Reed (65)
18. Dillon Lewis for Mitchell (78)

Referee: I Davies (WRU).

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About the author:

John Fallon

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