Munster get the Blues
PRO14 REPORT: Jarrod Evans' composure from the kicking tee gave Cardiff blues an impressive 25-18 win over Munster at Cardiff Arms Park, as the hosts weathered an Irish storm.
First-half tries from Macauley Cook, Lloyd Williams and Owen Lane were enough to see off a second-half resurgence from the visitors as they struck back through Chris Cloete and Stephen Fitzgerald.
The hosts opened the scoring after a tight first 15, with a well worked line-out move followed by some great off-loads and a long looping ball from Ellis Jenkins putting Cook in space to go over in the corner.
The lead was extended when Evans pumped a long ball into Munster's half and Williams closed down his counterpart's defensive box-kick, shrugged off two tackles from five metres out and dived over for Cardiff's second.
Ian Keatley's re-start straight went straight out and the Blues scored immediately from the scrum, with Lee-Lo putting a delightful grubber through for Owen Lane to race onto and go over in the corner after fending off Keatley.
Munster responded well and managed to get on the board before half time as a driving maul from a line-out led to Chris Cloete picking and going to cross the whitewash.
The visitor's ramped up the pressure in the second half, dominating possession and territory in the first 10 minutes after the break, with a Keatley penalty closing the gap to 11 points.
Munster took advantage of the Blues' ill-discipline as Matthew Rees was sent to the bin after a number of offsides.
The inevitable score came after the Munster forwards ploughed into contact pulling in the Blues defence, and quick hands from the backs exploited the extra space for Stephen Fitzgerald to trot over.
Keatley added the extras to cut the hosts' lead to four points with half an hour to play, setting up an intense finish at the Arms Park Stadium.
Cardiff weathered the storm and Evans slotted a penalty to put them ahead by seven and settle the nerves with twelve minutes to play.
Evans nailed another penalty to take the hosts 10 points clear and secure the win, but Tyler Bleyendaal slotted a kick from the tee in the last seconds of the match to earn Munster a losing bonus point.
Victory for the Blues closes the gap on the Cheetahs in the Pro14 Conference A to just eight points, whilst Munster remain in second place in the table.
For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Cook, Williams, Lane
Cons: Evans 2
Pens: Evans 2
Tries: Cloete, Fitzgerald
Pen: Keatley, Bleyendaal
Yellow card: Matthew Rees (Cardiff Blues, 50 - repeated infringements, offside)
Cardiff Blues: 15 Rhun Williams, 14 Aled Summerhill, 13 Garyn Smith, 12 Rey Lee-Lo, 11 Owen Lane, 10 Jarrod Evans, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Ellis Jenkins, 6 Macauley Cook, 5 Seb Davies, 4 George Earle, 3 Taufa'ao Filise, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Gethin Jenkins (captain).
Replacements: 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Josh Turnbull, 20 Olly Robinson, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Steven Shingler, 23 Ryan Edwards.
Munster: 15 Stephen Fitzgerald, 14 Darren Sweetnam, 13 Sammy Arnold, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Ronan O’Mahony, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Chris Cloete, 6 Jack O’Donoghue (captain), 5 Darren O’Shea, 4 Gerbrandt Grobler, 3 John Ryan, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Mike Sherry, 17 James Cronin, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Dave O’Callaghan, 21 James Hart, 22 Tyler Bleyendaal, 23 Simon Zebo.
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Dan Jones (Wales), Rhys Thomas (Wales)
TMO: Tim Hayes (Wales)