IT'S YELLOW PERIL FOR SORRY BLUES; MUNSTER Tries: Murray, Ryan, Hanrahan (2), Copeland; cons: Keatley (4); pens: Keatley (2) CARDIFF BLUES Try: Turnbull; con: Evans; pens: Evans (3) 39 16.
IFor many of their supporters would have feared the worst when coach Danny Wilson raised eyebrows by deciding to make eight changes from the team which had pulled off a gutsy first win of the Guinness PRO14 campaign in Connacht a week earlier for a visit to one of European rugby's strongholds.
That would have suggested to some he was focused on Friday night's derby with neighbours Dragons at Cardiff Arms Park.
Going to Thomond Park with anything other than Blues' strongest available line-up was akin to having one hand tied behind the back.
And Wilson's selection was all the more mystifying because the fixture came a couple of days after it was revealed he would be leaving the Blues at the end of the season after turning down a contract extension.
You would have thought he would have wanted to build momentum on the back of the victory in Galway but the Blues had the wind knocked out of their sails in the second half at Munster following the sin-binning of prop Tau Filise.
A yellow-card had been coming as they frequently transgressed at breakdowns and for being off-side but he was temporarily banished with 32 minutes remaining for repeated infringements at scrums.
Blues were 16-13 to the good at the time but conceded two converted tries and 14 points while the 40-yearold was watching.
And the scores kept coming after Wilson's side was back to a full complement with Munster getting another two as they bagged a bonus point and consigned the Blues to bottom in Conference A of the PRO14 behind fellow strugglers Ospreys with even Italian minnows Zebre above the both of them after five rounds of matches.
Blues' try was scored by flanker Josh Turnbull with outside-half Jarrod Evans converting and landing three penalties for 11 points.
Munster's touchdowns came from Conor Murray, John Ryan, JJ Hanrahan (twice) and former Blues' favourite Robin Copeland with outside-half Ian Keatley converting four and landing two penalties for a 14-point haul. Turnbull's score was terrific, coming from the top of a line-out just inside the Munster half. A decoy runner and long pass put Wales Under-20 star Rhun Williams away and the full-back found Tom James outside him.
The left-wing was brought down by the cover but the Blues recycled quickly with No.8 Nick Williams, centre Willis Halaholo and substitute centre Steven Shingler whipping the ball through the hands for flanker Turnbull to score on the overlap.
That had put them in front for a second time with Evans' opening penalty having been rubbed out by a converted try in the 13th minute.
A sustained attack resulted in a Munster penalty near Blues' try-line with scrum-half Murray taking it quickly.
They pressed for the score and it came when the Ireland and Lions star grounded the ball at the base of the padding protecting an upright.
Keatley tapped over the conversion but a penalty from Evans and his conversion of Turnbull's five-pointer gave the Blues a six-point advantage.
Play-maker Keatley and Evans exchanged penalties before the former added another to reduce the arrears to three as the teams trooped off for the interval.
But Filise's yellow-card turned it into a one-way second half as Munster upped the tempo.
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|Publication:||Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Oct 1, 2017|
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