Two second half sin-binnings proved costly for Munster as they succumbed to Cardiff Blues on the opening night of the Magners League.
MAGNERS LEAGUE: Friday, September 1
CARDIFF BLUES 22 MUNSTER 13, Arms Park (Att: 8,687)
Scorers: Cardiff: Tries: Chris Czekaj, Scott Morgan; Pens: Nick Robinson 4
Munster: Try: Timmy Ryan; Con: Jeremy Manning; Pens: Manning 2
Full-time: It's finished Cardiff 22 Munster 13 - no bonus point for Munster, although they deserved one for coming back from being down to 13 men. Some decent performances for Declan Kidney and his management team to look at on the video - number 8 James Coughlan had a very good first half, likewise Darragh Hurley. O'Leary, the tireless Ian Dowling, who shackled his Fijian counterpart well, and Kelly were the pick of the backs. Plenty of errors from both sides, a poor game overall and not the best night referee Dickson has ever had with the whistle
80 mins: Munster full-back Cullen gets his hands on the ball and arcs his way through a gap - however, it's only in his own half and his 20-metre run is brought to a halt by John Yapp. Cardiff had another shot at the posts, wanting to edge further clear of their bonus point-chasing visitors, but Robinson misses again - only four successes from nine for the Cardiff out-half tonight
79 mins: Rhys Williams breaks out of the Cardiff half on a solo run, he finds support but Munster lock Ryan does well to bundle Rush into touch
78 mins: Manning sends a chip kick over to the left wing for his chasers but Cardiff substitute Nick Macleod is alert to the danger and takes a mark
73 mins: MUNSTER TRY! Great heart from Munster - their heads have not dropped. O'Leary releases Cork Con prop Timmy Ryan, who is back on the field with renewed purpose, and he hands off Martyn Williams and bursts towards the Cardiff line from just inside the home 22. Williams tap tackles Ryan but his momentum takes him over the line with Robinson failing to get back in time. Manning adds a good conversion. Cardiff 22 Munster 13
64 mins: CARDIFF PENALTY! Robinson pings over the penalty for Ryan's offence. Cardiff 22 Munster 6
63 mins: MUNSTER YELLOW CARD! Disappointingly Munster are down to 13 players as lock Donnacha Ryan is found guilty of coming in at a ruck from an offside position when trying to tackle scrum half Phillips
58 mins: Only a great tackle from Ian Dowling keeps Luveitasau from grabbing a try - a subsequent penalty is hit off the post by Robinson
55 mins: MUNSTER YELLOW CARD! Barely on the field, young substitute prop Timmy Ryan is harshly sent to the sin bin for preventing a quick ruck release. However, Ryan was clearly competing for the ball legitimately
54 mins: CARDIFF TRY! Cardiff's tails are clearly up - a sweet move sees Rhys Thomas offload for newcomer Scott Morgan to thunder up the left touchline and score under the last-gasp challenge of John O'Sullivan. Robinson's conversion is swept away again to the right. Cardiff 19 Munster 6
49 mins: CARDIFF TRY! Fleet-footed wing Czekaj gets in for the game's opening try, but all the hard work done by Marc Stcherbina with a neat show and go. The Australian centre attacked Munster's defensive line, nipping in and out of the tackles of Manning and Shaun Payne to offload for Czekaj, who popped up on his left shoulder, to ghost over. Robinson missed the extras to the right. Cardiff 14 Munster 6
45 mins: MUNSTER PENALTY! A confident start to the second half from the Heineken Cup champions as hands in the ruck from Rush allows Manning dink over from the right. Cardiff 9 Munster 6
Second Half: Kick-Off: Manning restarts - it's taken in by Rob Sidoli. Robinson kicks over to the left corner of the field where Rhys Williams is haring up but Cullen comes across to cover the danger
...Munster coach Declan Kidney...
Half-time: Munster are 9-3 in arrears at the break and still very much in this game
40+5 mins: CARDIFF PENALTY! Chris Wyatt is penalised for being offside at a ruck, and Robinson mops up, clipping over his third penalty from 28 metres out, to the right of the posts. Wyatt knows he was caught out, and mouths 'fair cop' to referee Dickson. Cardiff 9 Munster 3
40 mins: CARDIFF PENALTY! Robinson lands his second penalty from directly in from of the posts. Rhys Thomas trundled forward and almost got over the Munster line - only superb tracking back from O'Leary snuffed out the chance - the visitors' pack got back well and held up the second wave. Two penalties to Cardiff followed, both being quickly tapped and they took the easy option when going for the posts with the third. Cardiff 6 Munster 3
35 mins: Only a knock on prevents Cardiff skipper Xavier Rush from getting deep into Munster territory and notching the opening try
33 mins: A harsh penalty on Federico Pucciariello, who is adjudged to have pulled Chris Czekaj back when he was chasing a kick through, sees Robinson go for goal from just outside the 22 but his kick is a poor one and spirals away to the right
31 mins: An excellent line break by O'Leary sees Munster move up to the Cardiff ten-metre line and Rhys Thomas comes in at the side of a subsequent ruck to offer Manning a second shot at the posts. However, the youngster's effort from a fair distance out fades away to the right
26 mins: Donnacha Ryan is forced to gallop back as the 'last man back' to retrieve a kick ahead by Robinson and the youngster does well to hold onto possession, set up the ruck and allow O'Leary to clear
20 mins: After a short spell of Cardiff dominance, another Kelly interception sees Munster string together their best move so far. Kelly takes the ball over halfway, Tomas O'Leary and John O'Sullivan combine to take the visitors up to the Cardiff 22 but Martyn Williams does well to slow down the subsequent ruck and Munster are penalised
12 mins: MUNSTER PENALTY! The perfect reply from Jeremy Manning as his high, hanging restart kick is dropped by the Blues' pack, James Downey snaps onto it and hands in the ruck sees Manning offered a left-sided shot at goal from 35 metres out - he takes it to level at 3-3. Cardiff 3 Munster 3
10 mins: CARDIFF PENALTY! Robinson converts a close-in penalty, just inside the 22 to the left of the Munster posts for the first points. Cardiff 3 Munster 0
8 mins: Cardiff probe Munster's centre with Mike Phillips and Robinson combining with a loop pass to bring Fijian recruit Luveitasau in on the burst. Munster defend well though and skipper Kelly comes away with an interception. However, some over eagerness from the Munster pack sees them go over the top at a subsequent ruck and Cardiff gain a kickable penalty. It's made easier for Robinson as the returning Sheahan gets tangled up with Phillips and throws the ball at the Welsh international and referee Rob Dickson brings the kick forward
4 mins: Christian Cullen gets a pleasing early touch of the ball as he fields a high ball from Robinson
Kick-Off: Play gets underway with Nick Robinson kicking-off - both sides looking eager to get down to business. Jeremy Manning and Robinson have an early bout of aeriel pin pong
Team News: Hit by Ireland squad commitments and some untimely injuries, Munster can still boast a tidy looking starting side for this trip to the Welsh capital.
Hooker Frankie Sheahan returns for his first competitive outing since injurying his neck last October. Former New Zealand full-back Christian Cullen is also a welcome inclusion after his battles with injury, and centre John Kelly has the honour of captaining the province on the occasion of his 138th cap. Former Wales lock Chris Wyatt is one of a number of new players who will be making their competitive bows.
Cardiff, meanwhile, have three summer signings in their line-up - Tufaao Filise, Scott Morgan and Mosese Luveitasau. Nick Robinson and Mike Phillips link again at half-back, while much will be expected of lightning duo Chris Czekaj and Jamie Robinson.
Cardiff: Rhys Williams; Chris Czekaj, Jamie Robinson, Marc Stcherbina, Mosese Luveitasau; Nick Robinson, Mike Phillips; Gethin Jenkins, Rhys Thomas, Tufaao Filise, Deiniol Jones, Rob Sidoli, Scott Morgan, Martyn Williams, Xavier Rush (capt).
Replacements: John Yapp, Gareth Williams, Bradley Davies, Robin Sowden-Taylor, Wayne Evans, Nick Macleod, Tom Shanklin.
Munster: Christian Cullen; Shaun Payne, John Kelly (capt), James Downey, Ian Dowling; Jeremy Manning, Tomas O'Leary; Darragh Hurley, Frankie Sheahan, Federico Pucciariello, Donnacha Ryan, Chris Wyatt, Ross Noonan, John O'Sullivan, James Coughlan.
Replacements: Sean Cronin, Timmy Ryan, Shane O'Connor, Brendan Cuttriss, Gerry Hurley, Eoghan Hickey, Mossie Lawlor.
Referee: Rob Dickson (Scotland)
Touch Judges: Nigel Owens, David Williams (both Wales)