Munster go top of Pro-14 Conference B with hard fought win over Cardiff Blues

A brace of tries from Alby Mathewson helped Munster to a bonus-point win over the Cardiff Blues which sees the province go top of Pro-14 Conference B.

The final score was 23-33 to the visitors in a tough and closely fought match with the scores having been tied 13-13 at half-time.

In difficult conditions Jarrod Evans and JJ Hanrahan exchanged penalties in the opened period.

With the wind at their backs, the Blues were back in Munster territory for a second Evans penalty after the visitors were pinged for holding on.

Munster continued to work their way into the game and took the lead with a close-range Chris Cloete effort on 23 minutes.  A superb Dan Goggin offload to Shane Daly in the lead-up helped create the well-worked five-pointer.

Hanrahan kicked the conversion, and stretched the lead further with a penalty six minutes later.

Cardiff closed out the half on the front foot, after a period of sustained pressure saw Corey Domachowski eventually break the line.

Evans added the close-range conversion to draw the sides level at the interval.

The number 10 stepped up again early in the second half to kick his side ahead after Munster strayed offside.

The men in red struck back within minutes as Mathewson finished off a Sammy Arnold break and pop pass from the ground to put the province back in front.  Hanrahan added his second conversion.

Nash was next to cross after replacement centre Rory Scannell made the initial break and Mathewson provided the final pass for the winger to finish off the opportunity.

The bonus point try came on 66 minutes after some superb counter-attacking play.  Conor Oliver, making his first appearance of the season, pounced on Cardiff’s spilled ball to claim possession.  With the ball moved out Hanrahan found the space to break away and with his half-back partner Alby Mathewson outside him, the number 9 linked with Dan Goggin before finishing the move off himself.

Hanrahan was off target with the sideline conversion but made no mistake with the next penalty as the clock was winding down.

The home side closed out the game with a Nick Williams try, but Munster had done enough to come away from the Welsh venue with a win for the first time since March 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

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