Munster rally late on to overcome Cardiff Blues
10 points in the final 10 minutes were enough to see them past their Welsh opponents19:29 Saturday 4 March 2017, 19:29 4 Mar 2017
Munster got back to winning ways this evening in Wales, but were made to work hard for a 23-13 victory over Cardiff Blues.
In an error-strewn game, Rassie Erasmus will be happy to come away with the result, but knows there will be plenty of work to be done to on the training ground next week.
On numerous occasions this evening Munster were the architects of their own downfall, sloppy offloads, crossovers when organizing attacking formations and knock-ons left the visitors frustrated.
This could be put down to the conditions at Cardiff Arms Park. While the surface was reliable as ever, heavy wind and rain wreaked havoc on the kickers. The sides went in at the break 6-3 in favour of the hosts.
Steve Shingler missed a kick at goal early on with the wind at his back. Kicking into the breeze Ian Keatley - who's game would end in the first-half - also failed to get the better of the elements.
Keatley would leave the field in the first half with injury, cutting a disappointed figure as he failed to make an impact in the absence of Tyler Bleyendaal.
Rory Scannell assumed kicking duties and got Munster off the mark with their first points of the game to draw level.
Cardiff were not without their own threat and showed some guile in the opening 40 minutes. Lloyd Williams brilliantly improvised and volleyed the ball into the corner during one of their forays forward. He chased down possession but Duncan Williams was on hand to produce a brilliant tackle and force the knock-on.
Shingler would score the final points of the half, with Scannell missing the chance to draw level at the break.
Cardiff's day got a little bit more difficult after the restart when Willis Halaholo was sent to the bin for a high tackle on Andrew Conway. Down to 14, the Welsh side gritted their teeth for a Munster onslaught.
Despite being a man down, Cardiff notched the game's first try.
Scannell was the man at fault. Munster unable to recycle the ball and the number 12 tried to pass quickly wide to set his side away. Aled Summerhill cut out the pass and raced clear for the try.
Rassie Erasmus' side drew back within minutes, Francis Saili spotting the gap as he took the ball from a ruck and a lovely bit of footwork took him away from Matthew Morgan.
Munster didn't draw level in the second half until the 70th minute, Scannell's effort was a timely boost as the Irish province looked for one final push.
Their play remained smudged by handling and passing errors, but Munster were diligent. After two attempts at breaking down the Cardiff defence and conceding penalties twice, Scannell took it upon himself to drop at goal and give Munster the lead for the first time in the game.
This was quickly followed by a try from Conor Oliver in the last five minutes to wrap up the points and deny Cardiff a losing bonus point.
Conor Oliver crosses for Munster in the dying minutes to secure the win for the visitors. Image: ©INPHO/Camersport/Ian Cook
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