Guinness Pro12: Cardiff Blues 24-28 Munster

By Gareth RobertsBBC Sport Wales
JJ Hanrahan
JJ Hanrahan kicked seven out of seven penalties as Munster defeated Cardiff Blues
Cardiff Blues (14) 24
Tries: Amorosino, Vosawai Cons: Davies Pens: Patchell (3), Davies
Munster (18) 28
Tries: Butler Cons: Holland Pens: Hanrahan (7)

Paddy Butler went over late on as Munster fought back to beat Cardiff Blues in the Pro12.

The Irish side led 18-14 at half-time as the boot of JJ Hanrahan gave them the advantage despite Lucas Amorosino's debut try for the Blues.

Monoa Vosawai's try and Gareth Davies's conversion then put Blues ahead.

Hanrahan levelled and Davies restored Blues' lead, but Butler's 77th-minute try leaves Munster fourth and the Welsh side 15 points behind them in ninth.

Munster's win underlined why they remain serious challengers for major titles.

But defeat leaves Mark Hammett's side searching for a second win with eight points from seven games in the Pro12 this season.

BJ Botha of Munster is tackled by Jarrad Hoeata
BJ Botha of Munster is tackled by Jarrad Hoeata

With November international fixtures looming, Munster were missing 11 players on duty with Ireland while the Blues were without Wales captain Sam Warburton, prop Gethin Jenkins, centre Cory Allen and wing Alex Cuthbert.

The attacking endeavour of the hosts was evident from the start, however, with Italian number eight Vosawai prominent.

Referee Marius Mitrea's regular whistling dominated, allowing rival goal-kickers Hanrahan and Patchell to showcase their considerable skills. Munster's fly-half knocked six penalties over before the break.

And Blues' Patchell was equal to his task until taking aim from wide out following Amorosino's try.

Patchell played his part in that score, taking Lloyd Williams' pass after Vosawai's charge to send the Argentine recruit over, but the full-back missed with his touchline conversion attempt.

Manoa Vosawai celebrates his Blues try
Manoa Vosawai celebrates his Blues try

Hanrahan ensured Munster a half-time lead with another penalty before Patchell missed one for the Blues.

Discarded Wales prop Adam Jones helped the home side force three penalties at successive close-range scrums before Munster escaped from a fourth as Blues' attack broke down.

Blues lost a limping Patchell and there was also a scare for 95-times Wales-capped Jones before he gingerly rejoined play.

The full-back's departure left the hosts without their goal-kicker as well as his potent attacking threat from deep.

Blues switched their attacking emphasis to the forwards, with Jones and his pack colleagues able to take them into the lead.

JJ Hanrahan kicks for the posts
JJ Hanrahan kicks for the posts

After a fluffed Munster line-out, another solid scrum allowed Vosawai to pick up before powering through three defenders, Davies converting to give them the lead for the first time.

Hanrahan's seventh penalty brought Munster level but after Jones' decent attempt at a snap drop-goal fell short, fly-half Davies restored Blues lead with a penalty.

That prompted Munster to establish themselves in Blues' 22 for the first time in the second period with wing Gerhard van den Heever almost breaking through before Butler eventually crossed with Johnny Holland converting to frustrate the hosts.


Cardiff Blues: Rhys Patchell, Richard Smith, Adam Thomas, Gavin Evans, Lucas Amorosino, Gareth Davies, Lloyd Williams; Sam Hobbs, Matthew Rees (capt), Adam Jones, Jarrad Hoeata, Filo Paulo, Josh Turnbull, Josh Navidi, Manoa Vosawai

Replacements: Dan Fish for Rhys Patchell (51), Kristian Dacey for Matthew Rees (57), Macauley Cook for Jarrad Hoeata (61), Lewis Jones for Lloyd Williams (74), Ellis Jenkins for Josh Navidi (74). Not Used: Thomas Davies, Taufa'ao Filise, Garyn Smith.

Munster: Johne Murphy; Andrew Conway, Andrew Smith, Rory Scannell, Gerhard van den Heever; JJ Hanrahan, Duncan Williams; John Ryan, Kevin O'Byrne, BJ Botha; Donncha O'Callaghan (capt), Billy Holland; CJ Stander, Paddy Butler, Robin Copeland

Replacements: Eusebio Guinazu for Kevin O'Byrne (51), Barry O'Mahony for Andrew Conway (59), Cathal Sheridan for Duncan Williams (59), Stephen Archer for BJ Botha (65), Johnny Holland for JJ Hanrahan (74). Not Used: Alan Cotter, Sean McCarthy, Ronan O'Mahony.

Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)

Assistant referees: Leighton Hodges (WRU) and Simon Rees (WRU)

TMO: Gareth Simmonds (WRU)

Citing Commissioner: John Charles (WRU)

Attendance: 6,902.