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Munster secures URC playoff spot with bonus points win over Cardiff

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Munster secured a place in the United Rugby Championship play-offs and boosted hopes of a home quarter-final with a 42-21 bonus points win over Cardiff at Musgrave Park.

ardiff silenced the crowd in Cork with early attempts from Seb Davies and Rey Lee-Lo but Munster hit back before the break with a brace from Mike Haley and a Thomas Aherns goal at half-time.

The hosts led 27-14 at the break, with Ben Healy landing five kicks, and gave up an opportunistic try in the 55th minute against Lloyd Williams, who helped scrum from Cardiff, as the visitors tried to get back into play.

The Welsh side couldn’t avoid their fourth consecutive URC defeat, however, as Livewire substitute Craig Casey landed twice to seal a five-try triumph in Munster.

This was a fast paced encounter from the start as Hallam Amos Conor Murray went on the outside to send Lock Davies past within two minutes.

Jarrod Evans converted and also added the extras to Lee-Lo’s effort that came from another Amos hiatus. Evans cleaned up a loose pass and threw the ball wide for the Samoan center to score.

Meanwhile, Munster full-back Haley flew behind the post after nice hands from Rory Scannell and Jack O’Donoghue.

A Healy converted that result and a second-half penalty closed the gap to 14-10 but Simon Zebo was denied twice as Cardiff, who lost Rory Thornton to a shoulder injury, stood firm.

However, Haley dodged in the 25th minute to score from the edge of the Cardiff 22 and Healy’s conversion made it 17-14.

Amos’ night – and perhaps his career as well, as he retires after this season – was cruelly ended by a hamstring injury after half an hour before a Healy penalty made it a six-point game.

Münster crept in another try shortly before the break, Junglock Ahern drove through Healy to convert.

A stop-start in the third quarter was scoreless until Cardiff’s scrum-half Williams jerked past John Ryan and went in under the post after James Botham’s first break.

Munster upped the tempo in response, Casey, the beneficiary of an O’Donoghue offload, to bag the bonus point. Substitute Joey Carbery converted to further extend the home side’s lead.

The Irish Province went over the line again with eight minutes to go, Casey tapping quickly to duck under Ley-Lo’s tackle and cross from five yards.

https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/pro14/munster-guarantee-urc-playoff-spot-with-bonus-point-rout-of-cardiff-41601932.html Munster secures URC playoff spot with bonus points win over Cardiff

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