Pro14: Munster 39-16 Cardiff Blues
|Pro14: Munster v Cardiff Blues|
|Munster (13) 39|
|Tries: Murray, Ryan, Hanrahan 2, Copeland Cons: Keatley 4 Pens: Keatley 2|
|Cardiff Blues (16) 16|
|Tries: Turnbull Cons: Evans Pens: Evans 3|
Munster recovered from a misfiring first half to deny Cardiff Blues a second Pro14 win in a week in Ireland.
Conor Murray's try helped Munster lead 7-3 but Josh Turnbull's touchdown put the Blues ahead as the home side conceded several breakdown penalties.
But after trailing 16-13 at the break, Munster punished the sin-binning of Blues prop Taufa'ao Filise as John Ryan and JJ Hanrahan notched tries.
Further tries from Robin Copeland and Hanrahan secured Munster's bonus point.
After initially struggling to deal with South African referee Quinton Immelman's breakdown interpretation, Munster were much more clinical in the second half as their scrum domination turned the game decisively in their favour.
Eventually, the dam burst with 40-year-old Filise's yellow carding as Ryan's 52nd-minute try was followed by Hanrahan's score four minutes later after centre Rory Scannell's superb break.
Man of the match Ian Keatley was also a composed presence for Munster as he notched 14 points after Cardiff's Jarrod Evans - the late hero in last weekend's win over Connacht - had kicked well in the first period.
Returning Lions boost Munster
Murray joined his fellow British & Irish Lions Peter O'Mahony and CJ Stander in making his first Munster appearance of the season and the scrum-half's 13th-minute try put the home side 7-3 up.
However, Evans' second Blues penalty cut the margin before a Willis Halaholo-inspired try, his bouncing pass seeing Tom James threaten on the left, before the Kiwi centre then connected with Steven Shingler to send Turnbull over.
Evans and Keatley both punished further breakdown infringements at both ends as the Blues led at the break after Munster had failed to exploit pressure just before the interval.
However, Munster's scrum superiority after the restart turned the contest strongly in their favour as the Blues conceded four set-piece penalties.
Sin-binned prop Filise's replacement Keiron Assiratti briefly eased the pressure by winning a free-kick on his own line but the hosts hammered back as Ryan burst over to score after seven speedy phases.
Within the Blues still down to 14 players, Scannell's break set up Hanrahan to score four minutes later and Copeland's 67th-minute bonus-point clinching try was then followed by another Hanrahan try.
Saturday's game was Cardiff's first contest since the announcement that their head coach Danny Wilson will leave the club at the end of the season.
Munster: Andrew Conway; Darren Sweetnam, Jaco Taute, Rory Scannell, Alex Wootton; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Robin Copeland, Billy Holland, Peter O'Mahony (capt), Tommy O'Donnell, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Rhys Marshall, Liam O'Connor, Stephen Archer, Mark Flanagan, Sean McCarthy, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Chris Farrell.
Cardiff Blues: Rhun Williams; Blaine Scully (capt), Jack Roberts, Willis Halaholo, Tom James; Jarrod Evans, Tomos Williams; Brad Thyer, Matthew Rees, Taufa'ao Filise, George Earle, James Down, Josh Turnbull, Olly Robinson, Nick Williams.
Replacements: Ethan Lewis, Corey Domachowski, Keiron Assiratti, Seb Davies, Macauley Cook, Lloyd Williams, Steven Shingler, Matthew Morgan.
Referee: Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher (Ireland), Gary Conway (Wales)
TMO: Brian MacNiece (Ireland)