Duncan Williams in action for Munster v Cardiff
Munster Rugby fell to their sixth domestic league loss this season when they found themselves on the wrong end of a 25 to 18 defeat to Cardiff at the Arms Park this evening.
The results sees Munster's record sit at 9-6 from 15 games, while Cardiff improved to 7-8 from their 15.
On reflection, Munster's undoing was in the first half, where in the space of nine minutes, they conceded three tries. The game was slow to get going, indeed there were 20 scoreless minutes between two sides bereft of their Six Nations talent.
Tries from Macauley Cook, Lloyd Williams and Owen Lane saw the hosts lead 19-0 after just half an hour. Munster were to get back into the tie when Chris Cloete scored a five pointer just before the break to leave the half time score 19-5.
The second half began with Munster dominant. A penalty from Ian Keatley and a try from Stephen Fitzgerald (converted by Keatley) saw the men in red move to within four at 19-15. Cardiff's Matthew Rees was in the bin at the time for incessant foul play, such was Munster's pressure.
The rot was stopped by Cardiff as Jarrod Evans extended the Blues lead after 67 minutes taking them into a 22-15 lead. The young number 10 was kick his side even further into the lead in the 76th minute making it 25-15 to the Welsh side.
In a positive for Munster fans, Tyler Bleyendaal returned to action following several months on the sideline. The former New Zealand U-20 out half came on as a second half sub for the aforementioned Ian Keatley and knocked over a penalty to secure what might be a vital losing bonus point on the night.
Munster are next in action on Friday night February 23, when they face Conference leaders Glasgow at Irish Independent Park. The game, which is live on Sky Sports, kicks off at 7pm.
20 - TRY - Cardiff - Macauley Cook - Conversion Missed 5-0
After some scrappy play @cardiff_blues up the ante with some quick ball and take the lead.— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) February 17, 2018
Ellis Jenkins sees the space and fires a fantastic pass out to @maccarugby91 who opens the scoring in the corner.
Watch it live on @SkySportsRugby.#CBLvMUN #GUINNESSPRO14 pic.twitter.com/zLWYLZrM1D
25 - TRY - Cardiff - Lloyd Williams - Conversion by Jarrod Evans 12-0
29 - TRY - Cardiff - Owen Lane - Converted by Jarrod Evans 19-0
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) February 17, 2018
Somebody stop Owen Lane before he takes flight! Pure pace and the winger gets @cardiff_blues' third try vs @Munsterrugby.
Watch it on @SkySportsRugby.#CBLvMUN #GUINNESSPRO14 pic.twitter.com/fsRtTaFKID
34 - TRY - Munster - Chris Cloete - Conversion missed 19-5
----------------------HALF TIME SCORE---------------------------------
44 - PEN - Munster - Ian Keatley - 19-8
53 - TRY - Munster - Stephen Fitzgerald - Conversion by Ian Keatley - 19-15
Stephen Fitzgerald gets @Munsterrugby right back in this!— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) February 17, 2018
He's the man over on the right hand side and takes advantage of the acres in front of him to score.
Watch live on @SkySportsRugby.#CBLvMUN #GUINNESSPRO14 pic.twitter.com/Z3VJbgMkYG
67 - PEN - Cardiff - Jarrod Evans - 22-15
76- PEN - Cardiff - Jarrod Evans - 25-15
80 - PEN - Munster - Tyler Bleyendaal 25-18
Cardiff Blues: Rhun Williams; Aled Summerhill, Garyn Smith, Rey Lee-Lo, Owen Lane; Jarrod Evans, Lloyd Williams; Gethin Jenkins (C), Matthew Rees, Taufa'ao Filise, George Earle, Seb Davies, Macauley Cook, Ellis Jenkins, Nick Williams
Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Rhys Gill, Dillon Lewis, Josh Turnbull, Olly Robinson, Tomos Williams, Steven Shingler, Ryan Edwards
Munster: Stephen Fitzgerald; Darren Sweetnam, Sammy Arnold, Rory Scannell, Ronan O'Mahony; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; Dave Kilcoyne, Rhys Marshall, John Ryan, Gerbrandt Grobler, Darren O'Shea, Jack O'Donoghue (capt), Chris Cloete, Robin Copeland.
Replacements: Mike Sherry, James Cronin, Stephen Archer, Jean Kleyn, Dave O'Callaghan, James Hart, Tyler Bleyendaal, Simon Zebo.
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)