Munster haunted by Nick Williams and Willis Halaholo in sound Cardiff beating
CARDIFF - 37
MUNSTER - 13
Munster sent a strong team to play Cardiff Blues and very few of them will feel happy with their contributions after a sound, solid beating.
Cardiff scored four tries in a superb performance to secure their first win of the season. Nick Williams and Gareth Anscombe were good but Willis Halaholo was unstoppable.
Munster trailed 7-0 after six minutes when Halaholo showed some nice hands to draw men in and open a gap that former Munster and Ulster forward Nick Williams (10 carries and 13 tackles in the game) powered through. Gareth Anscombe converted but Munster reduced the arrears soon after.
Chris Cloete, who made three turnovers against Ospreys last week, dipped in to make another and spark a counter-attack that Andrew Conway finished well after chipping ahead for himself.
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Carbery missed the conversion but fared better, as he so often does, in open play.
He pouched a steepler from Anscombe and ran it back just under 60 metres before making a smart kick ahead with the outside of his boot.
Carbery showed up, less than a minute later, to slip Conway in for his second and Cloete deserves some credit for a smart decoy run in the build-up. Carbery had a second touchline conversion to deal with and missed right this time. 10-7 up and building nicely, then the wheels came off.
Cardiff made a nice line break off first phase from their set-piece and Munster were scrambling. Halaholo did the rest with a goose-step and pivot that will give the wrong-footed Conway nightmares for weeks to come. The centre passed to Tomos Williams for the score. Carbery landed a penalty six minutes later and Cardiff led 14-13 at the break.
Johann van Graan will have been hoping his side would score first in the second half but another blazing run from Halaholo left Jaco Taute grasping at thin air and he dotted down in the corner.
Ansombe converted that score and added two more penalties after that to ensure the victory heading into the final 15. All that remained to be seen was whether the hosts could get the try-scoring bonus.
It arrived on 76 minutes when Tomos Williams dived over and Anscombe pinged over the conversion. For the second time in three weeks, Munster have been flaked on the road.
OUR MAN OF THE MATCH: Nick Williams (Cardiff)