Munster 45 - 21 Cardiff Blues
HT 17-14
Fri 05 April 19:35 Irish Independent Park Att: 8,008 Ref: Marius Mitrea Guinness PRO14

Munster 45 Cardiff Blues 21

Fri 5 Apr 2019 21:25 Munster 45 Cardiff Blues 21

Three tries were not enough for Cardiff Blues as Munster displayed their ruthless streak in the Guinness PRO14.

The Blues trailed 17-14 at half-time in Cork despite two stunning efforts from Tomos Williams and Aled Summerhill.

They took the lead early in the second-half as Rey Lee-Lo crossed from a quick-tap but it did not last long as Munster displayed their European pedigree.

The Blues’ spirited effort was not helped by a number of debatable decisions favouring the home side, who added four tries to take their overall tally to six for the evening.

The defeat is a blow to Cardiff Blues’ play-off hopes with Connacht playing Zebre tomorrow but the Welsh region are back in Ireland next week for a make-or-break clash with the Galway side.

Munster had the early opportunity to open the scoring when Marius Mitrea awarded a scrum penalty inside three minutes but Tyler Bleyendaal miss-fired.

While the hosts failed to take their opportunity, Cardiff Blues struck with their first chance, in stunning fashion.

Kristian Dacey took the ball at first receiver and played it out the back to Anscombe, with Willis Halaholo running the decoy line, and the Wales fly-half put Rey Lee-Lo into a hole.

The Samoan international sliced through the Munster defence and found Tomos Williams in support on the inside and the scrum-half had enough pace to cross the whitewash. Anscombe converted to give the Blues a 7-0 lead and silence the home crowd.

Munster hit back with a penalty as Bleyendaal made amends for his earlier miss and as the quarter-mark approached the home side took the lead.

A superb piece of defensive work saw Anscombe hold up the Munster attacker in the tackle to earn a turnover scrum but a miscommunication at the back gave the home side a sniff.

Williams just about avoided touching down on his own try-line but Munster pinched the ball with Peter O’Mahony appearing to come in from an offside position. Play was waved on and three phases later Chris Farrell powered over from close-range with Bleyendaal converting.

Munster continued to put the pressure on Wales’ Capital Region with their power and intensity a handful and the marginal decisions going their way. They entered the Blues 22 once more but a superb jackal from Dillon Lewis earned a penalty and Anscombe cleared.

A marginally high tackle from Halaholo and an extended advantage allowed Munster to kick to the corner and although they were prevented from rumbling over, Jean Kleyn soon crossed. Bleyendaal added the extras to give his side a 17-7 lead after 30 minutes.

Cardiff Blues continued to threaten on the counter with Lee-Lo and Summerhill combining from deep on the left. Summerhill attempted the offload but it was palmed down by Ryan Byrne into touch.

However, it did not take long for Mulvihill’s men to strike as they continued to thrill with ball in hand. They had not had many chances in Cork, they took the first and then took the third as Summerhill took his tally to eight tries in seven games.

The try was created by Anscombe, who glided around the Munster defence and released Matthew Morgan. Morgan drew Conway to put Summerhill down the left and the red hot wing gassed Bleyendaal before dummying past Mike Haley.

Anscombe converted the score to bring the Blues within three points, at 17-14, at half-time and they came flying out of the blocks in the second.

Playing with speed and precision they surged down field with Mitrea amazingly awarding the Blues their first penalty of the game in the 41st minute. They continued to attack and were given a quick-fire second penalty but Anscombe’s effort, which would have levelled the scores, sailed wide in a swirling wind.

Despite the miss, the Blues were soon given a third penalty and they took full advantage as Williams took a quick tap and beat two men before off-loading to Lee-Lo, who wriggled over.

Anscombe was back on target with the conversion to boot the Blues into a 21-17 lead but it did not last long as Munster quickly responded.

This time a penalty in their direction allowed them to lay a platform and following a sustained period of pressure CJ Stander crashed over with virtually his first touch.

Bleyendaal bisected the posts once more to stretch his side’s slender lead to three points and hey took a major stride towards victory on the hour mark. The Blues attempted to play their way out of their own 22 and spilt possession, allowing the hosts to lay siege.

They turned the screw but were unable to break the Blues down as they hammered at the line.

Mitrea went to the TMO and despite there appearing to be no conclusive replays of Conor Murray, sneaking the ball over the line, a dubious try was awarded.

From there Munster never looked back and they added a fifth try through Conway on 65 minutes, before Sammy Arnold slid in the corner in the final stages to cap off the victory.