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Cardiff Blues dent Munster's play-off hopes

Published 18/03/2016

Rhys Patchell finished with 19 points for Cardiff.
Rhys Patchell finished with 19 points for Cardiff.

Cardiff Blues put a large dent in Munster's hopes of a Guinness Pro12 play-off berth by beating them 37-28 in an entertaining game at the Arms Park.

The defeat saw Munster remain in fifth position with the Blues' win bringing them level on points with eighth-placed Ospreys.

Cardiff overcame a poor start to score four tries through Macauley Cook, Matthew Rees, Garyn Smith and Rhys Patchell with the outside half converting them all and kicking two penalties - Jarrod Evans also added a late penalty.

Munster's points came from tries from Darren Sweetnam, Jack O'Donoghue and Mike Sherry with Ian Keatley and Johnny Holland converting one apiece. Keatley also kicked two penalties and Holland added one.

Munster had begun strongly by taking a third-minute lead when Keatley kicked a simple penalty before the visitors scored an excellent try.

A burst from centre Rory Scannell put the home side on the back foot and when the ball was recycled a well-timed pass from Francis Saili sent Sweetnam outside Aled Summerhill and over in the corner.

After 10 minutes, the Blues had their first chance for points with Patchell making no mistake with a difficult penalty attempt but the first quarter was almost all Munster as they dominated possession and territory.

Keatley and Saili impressed as they unlocked the home defence but the visitors could not capitalise in terms of points and led 8-3 after 20 minutes.

After 23 minutes, the Blues could have scored their first try when Patchell sailed through a huge gap and he should have made the line himself but chose to feed Dan Fish, who knocked on, as he attempted to ground the ball.

However the second quarter was a complete reversal of the first as Cardiff gained the ascendancy and were rewarded with their opening try.

Josh Navidi brushed past a weak tackle from Irish hooker Mike Sherry to race away before feeding Cook, who scored for Patchell to convert.

This put the Blues ahead 10-8 at half-time but the home side were fortunate as they should have conceded a second try just before the interval but Saili's poor pass was intercepted by Blaine Scully which allowed Cardiff to relieve the pressure.

Early in the second half, Patchell extended the lead with his second penalty but this was soon nullified with a long-range effort from Keatley before the Blues put daylight between the teams with their second try.

From a close-range line-out, Ellis Jenkins sent Rees over for Patchell to convert. It was the last action for the Blues' hooker as he was replaced by Kristian Dacey.

The frenetic opening to the second half continued with two tries in two minutes - Sherry finished off a driving line-out before he was replaced and then Smith intercepted to race 45 metres to score.

Keatley was replaced by Holland, who kicked a penalty, but the Blues had made the game safe when Patchell raced away for the bonus-point try, which he converted for a match tally of 19 points.

Munster scored a third try from O'Donoghue but Evans' last-minute penalty deprived the Irish side of a bonus point.

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