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Munster A 28 Cardiff Blues A 7

Age Grade & Academy | 20th September 2019

Cardiff Blues A fell to a 28-7 defeat at the hands of Munster A, despite a spirited performance at Irish Independent Park on Friday.

Wales’ Capital Region were under pressure in the opening exchanges, and found themselves 14-points down, but responded with a first half Josh Male try, which would prove to be their only score of the evening.

Despite some positive signs from the visitors, showing plenty of character in defence and sharpness in attack, the home side showed their clinical edge to cross for two further tries to seal the bonus point.

The Blues were also reduced to 14 men on two occasions, with scrum halves Ethan Lloyd and Zak Bartlett sent to the sin bin.

It’s back-to-back home games to finish the campaign for Cardiff Blues, as they welcome Connacht Eagles to the Welsh capital next week before the campaign comes to an end against Scarlets A on Friday, October 4.

There were strong winds at Irish Independent Park, as Munster took full control of the opening exchanges, dominating both possession and territory.

A series of penalties saw the hosts advance deep into the Cardiff Blues territory on multiple occasions. 

It was a brave defensive effort from the visitors, but the deadlock was finally broken as the ball was worked wide from a close range scrum to Louis Bruce, who dotted down in the corner despite the suggestion of a forward pass in the build up.

The hosts made it a quickfire double after a deep bust from number eight Luke Clohessy. Rhys Davies recovered to make an impressive tackle, but Munster continued to go through the phases and eventually created the space for Jack Delaney to cross the whitewash.

However, the coaching team of Gethin Jenkins and T Rhys Thomas would’ve been pleased with their side’s reaction, as centre Dafydd Smith showed dazzling footwork to put the visitors on the front foot. 

They switched play to the right hand side, with plenty of numbers on hand, but Josh Male made an intelligent decision to straighten the line and cut through the midfield for his first try of the campaign.

It was a positive period for the away side, who had momentum behind them, and had seemingly crossed for a second, after a break from Ioan Davies gave space to Mason Grady on the right wing.

The Cardiff Blues under-18 back touched down in the corner, but play was brought back for a foot-in-touch.

Alex Varney was lucky to escape a yellow card for a deliberate knock on, denying Munster a golden opportunity, but the hosts did find their way to the try line from the resulting line-out, powering over despite a strong initial maul defence from the Blues.

The visitors were reduced to 14 men when Ethan Lloyd was harshly sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knock on, having attempted to tackle his opposite number.

Cardiff Blues A held out well with the man disadvantage, but Munster went into the break with a 14-point lead.

The likes of James Botham and Ben Murphy looked to build momentum for their side, combining in midfield with the lock feeding the openside flanker, who darted downfield. 

Botham bought time for the support to secure the ball at the ruck, but Davies’ chip behind was unfortunate to trickle into the try zone, allowing Munster to touch down for a 22 meter drop-out.

Wales’ Capital Region looked to bounce back and applied plenty of pressure, but Munster struck for the devastating blow on the break, securing the bonus point.

After Rob Hedderman made yards down the right, he found scrum half Craig Casey in support, who chipped ahead. Munster won the race for possession and charged over, with the Blues unable to recover in time.

Replacement Zak Bartlett was sent to the sin bin late on for stamping on an opposition player as Munster held out for the victory.