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Cardiff Blues A 32 Munster A 33

29th September 2018

It was a classic encounter at the Arms Park on Saturday afternoon, as Cardiff Blues A and Munster A secured a try bonus point each, but it wasn't enough to topple the Irish province, who extend their perfect run in this season's Celtic Cup.

Without a single cloud in the sky, the conditions were polar opposite to last week at the Welsh capital, making for an entertaining spectacle at the Arms Park.

The hosts looked bright in the first half, as the lead switched from one team to another, with Ethan Lewis scoring a sensational individual try.

But Munster had a firm grip on the game early in the second half, securing the bonus point and looking out of sight.

Callum Bradbury crossed for what looked like a consolation score, but quick fire scores from replacements Harri Millard and Dan Fish sparked hopes for an unlikely comeback.

But Tom Williams' penalty in the final play - from his own half - fell just short of the sticks, bringing an end to this fascinating clash.

Munster kicked off and looked strong from the off, but the stern Cardiff Blues defence managed to withstand the pressure.

The visitors had to work hard for their first points, and it eventually came from the boot of Bill Johnston, after the hosts were penalised at a driving line-out.

Rees’ side almost responded in perfect fashion, as a Ben Thomas break manufactured space on the right.

The centre found Aled Summerhill in support, but the wing’s long inside pass to Lewis Jones drifted forward, with the try-line at his mercy.

The wing continued to prove a menace for the Munster defence, as his break put his side on the front foot once again. 

Summerhill skipped past a pair of defenders, before finding Tom Williams in support. 

Williams, who has three tries to his name in this competition, was brought down short by Johnston, and failed to release the offload to Sion Bennett. 

However, the attack continued, and Craig Evans awarded the hosts a penalty, after Munster strayed offside. Shingler duly brought the scores level.

A chip and gather from full back Williams put Cardiff Blues A back in a promising position but they failed to come away with points on this occasion, as the ball was spilled in contact.

The first try was a sensational individual effort, which came from an unlikely source. Ethan Lewis split open the Munster defence, and has support on his inside, but sold the full back a perfect dummy to run in from halfway.

Shingler added the extras, but Munster slowly worked their way back into the game through a pair of Johnston penalties.

The visitors took the lead on the brink of half time, as the referee awarded the Irish province a penalty try after another strong drive was taken down and sent Bennett to the sin bin for his actions.

Shingler slotted a penalty to narrow the gap to three points at the interval.

Cardiff Blues began the second half brightly, but a split ball in midfield gave Munster an opportunity, which they took with both hands.

Building through the phases eventually created the overlap out wide, with Liam Coombs releasing Sean French for a crucial score.

Lewis Jones was sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on, and the resulting penalty saw Johnston kick for the corner. The hosts initially denied Eoghan Clarke from touching down, but a couple of phases later Keynan Knox crashed over to extend his side’s advantage.

Johnston made no mistakes from the conversion this time, and the bonus point was swiftly secured as Alex McHenry split open the home defence.

The home side struck back as Callum Bradbury touched down for what looked like a consolation score for the hosts, taking advantage of a rampant driving line-out.

With the clock ticking down, Harri Millard added a third for the hosts, after some fine play from Tom James created space for the replacement to round the final defender and cross out wide.

Moments later, the game was set up for a dramatic finale, as Dan Fish collected a loose ball in midfield, and had the gas to run in from deep into his own half. Tom Williams’ second conversion of the afternoon brought the teams within a point.

Williams stepped up for a 55-meter penalty in the final play of the game, but his effort fell just short of the sticks.