Cardiff Blues 10 - 31 Munster
Sat 23 November 18:30 Cardiff Arms Park Att: 6,122 Ref: David Wilkinson Pro12

Cardiff Blues 10 Munster 31

Sat 23 Nov 2013 19:59 Cardiff Blues 10 Munster 31
Fly half Simon Humberstone gave Blues the lead in a lively opening 15 minutes from the hosts before Munster took control of the league clash in devastating fashion.

A score from full back Felix Jones gave Munster the lead before two tries in three minutes, from Damien Varley and James Cronin, put the visitors in complete control at the break.

Andrew Conway grabbed the bonus point two minutes after the interval before Blues showed fight with hooker Kristian Dacey grabbing his second try in two weeks.

Robin Copeland took a superb high take in the opening minute before Josh Navidi and Sam Hobbs took the ball into contact at pace.

A high tackle on full back Tom Williams gave Simon Humberstone the first shot at goal on the night, but his effort was just short of the target allowing Munster to clear away.

Blues were keeping the ball well in the opening five minutes as they continued to bulldoze at the Irish defence and when JJ Hanrahan spilled ball it was Chris Czekaj who kicked into space.

However, Munster held out and when a high up and under from Richard Smith fell kindly it was the marauding flanker Sean Dougall who broke away and clear down the left and over, only to be pulled back by referee David Wilkinson for a knock-on in the build-up.

Andrew Conway gave Munster go forward as he cut off his wing, but another dropped pass in a scrappy opening from the visitors gave Blues field position.

Kristian Dacey crashed past tackles as the hosts continued to dominate territory before a cynical penalty at the breakdown to slow down play gave Humberstone a simple kick to open the scoring on 14 minutes.

An unfortunate slip in midfield from Gavin Evans opened up space to allow Munster to score the game’s first try as Casey Laulala took full advantage and rode a tackle before he offloaded to Felix Jones on his left shoulder to score.

A poor pass at the back of a scrum led to more trouble for Blues as Munster quickly pounced on the loose ball and looked to go wide left. A grubber kick was collected by Johne Murphy but he lost possession as he looked to flick a pass back.

Ex-player Laulala was proving a constant thorn in the side of Blues as twice he side-stepped tackles. But as Munster looked to strike again a mistake from Hanrahan saw him run into the back of his forwards and be penalised for obstruction.

A superb double hand-off and break from Number Eight CJ Stander saw him rattle down the middle and into the Blues 22. But as the forwards swarmed in to protect the ball, it was Hobbs who stepped over to take the free ball and release the mounting pressure.

A powerful driving maul saw Blues shunted back before the Munster forward went to work as they picked and went before Damien Varley broke down the middle of the ruck and bulldozed over.

Another home mistake saw Humberstone’s kick charged down and Munster were again lethal as they flung the ball to the right and the big three-man overlap as Cronin stormed over for a third away try and a 21-3 lead.

More sustained pressure from Munster, after Blues were penalised for feeding at the scrum, saw Hanrahan kick the visitors into a commanding 24-3 lead at the interval.

Munster clicked into gear with ruthless efficiency after the break and scored the fourth try and bonus just two minutes in as slick handling saw them burst down the right and open up room for Conway to touch down.

Blues responded with a period of sustained pressure and repeated penalties on the line saw CJ Stander yellow carded.

The next lineout was driven forward with real menace and with the home crowd roaring Blues on it was hooker Dacey who, aided by Navidi and Macauley Cook by his side, touched down.

The home side were enjoying their best period of the game and won a scrum against the head as they looked to dominate territory with the extra man.

Blues were dealt a blow when Pretorius hobbled off, replaced by Rory Watts-Jones, but the home side continued to defend the line with real gusto as tackles continued to rain in.

Mike Sherry was the second Munster man to see yellow after he took Lewis Jones out as he strayed offside at the ruck to ensure the Irish visitors would finish the game with 14 men.

A jinking run by Jones set Blues on the front foot once more before he was replaced by young Academy scrum half Tomos Williams for his league debut.

But there was no late score for Blues who now turn their attention to a trip to Italy next weekend as they look to return to winning ways.



14m Humberstone p 3-0

17m Jones t Hanrahan c 3-7

27m Varley t Hanrahan c 3-14

30m Cronin t Hanrahan c 3-21

38m Hanrahan p 3-24

42m Conway t Hanrahan c 3-31

48m Dacey t Humberstone c 10-31


Cardiff Blues: 15 Tom Williams, 14 Richard Smith, 13 Gavin Evans (G Davies 44), 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Chris Czekaj, 10 Simon Humberstone, 9 Lewis Jones (Tomos Williams 75); 1 Sam Hobbs (T Davies 75), 2 Kristian Dacey (R Williams 59), 3 Taufa’ao Filise (Bourrust 66), 4 Macauley Cook, 5 James Down, 6 Andries Pretorius (Watts-Jones 59), 7 Josh Navidi (Young 63), 8 Robin Copeland (Hamilton 75).

Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Benoit Bourrust, 19 Thomas Young, 20 Rory Watts-Jones, 21 Luke Hamilton, 22 Tomos Williams, 23 Gareth Davies