WATCH: Munster hit Cardiff for six to book PRO14 play-off spot

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent, Musgrave Park, Cork

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Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent, Musgrave Park, Cork

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ckinsella@limerickleader.ie

Munster hit Cardiff for six to book PRO14 play-off spot

Munster's CJ Stander powers through the Cardiff cover in his side's 45-21 Guinness PRO14 bonus point win at Musgrave Park on Friday night

MUNSTER booked their place in the knock-out stages of the Guinness PRO14 with a 45-21 bonus point win over Cardiff before a sell-out attendance at Musgrave Park on Friday night.

Munster scored six tries in all, four in the second half, to avenge their heavy 37-13 defeat at the hands of the same opposition in Cardiff last September.

Munster were dealt a blow before kick-off as winger Keith Earls was forced to cry off after picking up a knock in the warm-up.

Munster led the Welsh side 17-14 at half-time as the sides shared four tries evenly in a lively opening 40 minutes.

Centre Chris Farrell and second row Jean Kleyn dotted down for Munster from close range. The home side had led 17-7 after half an hour. However, a try from flying Cardiff winger Aled Summerhill before the break added to scrum-half Tomes Williams' early effort.

Munster scrum half Conor Murray was forced to leave the field on 36 minutes for a HIA assessment as he was replaced by Alby Mathewson. Murray did return to action at the start of the second half.

The home side ran in four second half tries through CJ Stander, who made a big impact off the bench, scrum-half Murray, winger Andrew Conway and replacement Sam Arnold.

Munster have now won their last 13 home games in all competitions and are unbeaten in their last nineteen at home since Leinster were victorious at Thomond Park at Christmas 2017.

MUNSTER: Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Darren Sweetnam; Tyler Bleyendaal, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Kevin O’Byrne, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony (Capt), Chris Cloete, Arno Botha. Replacements: Niall Scannell, Jeremy Loughman, Stephen Archer, Tadhg Beirne, CJ Stander, Alby Mathewson, JJ Hanrahan, Sammy Arnold.

CARDIFF BLUES: Matthew Morgan; Owen Lane, Rey Lee-Lo, Willis Halaholo, Aled Summerhill; Gareth Anscombe, Tomos Williams; Rhys Gill, Kristian Dacey (c), Dillon Lewis, Seb Davies, Rory Thornton, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Olly Robinson, Josh Turnbull. Replacements: Ethan Lewis, Brad Thyer, Keiron Assiratti, George Earle, James Botham, Lloyd Williams, Garyn Smith.

REFEREE: Marius Mitrea (Italy)