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Fish scores late as Blues battle past Munster

Dan Fish scored the winning try as Cardiff Blues battled past Munster 24-23 in a fascinating battle at Irish Independent Park to secure their second win of the season.

The full-back burst through to score with 12 minutes left just after Munster had seemingly gained control, and a strong defensive effort repelled the Irish side in the final minutes.

Tom James crossed twice for the Blues in an open first half, but Munster gradually edged back and took the lead through Dave Kilcoyne’s close-range try in the final quarter.

However, Fish won it for the visitors after a slick move, to maintain their 100% start to the season after an opening-day win against Edinburgh.

Cardiff head coach Danny Wilson opted to stock up on experience for the trip to Cork by recalling veteran prop Gethin Jenkins, along with fit-again winger Alex Cuthbert.

They shot out of the blocks and almost grabbed an early try through Cory Allen, but Darren Sweetnam’s last-ditch tackle forced the Welsh centre into touch on the left wing.

However, they could not be kept out for long as James evaded several tackles after stepping inside to score his 50th Blues try.

Munster, roared on by the home crowd, hit back immediately after an intelligent kick over the top from Ian Keatley dropped into a dangerous area and Sweetnam latched onto it before off-loading to Andrew Conway to score.

After a breathless start the intensity dropped with a tactical kicking game taking over, before Gareth Anscombe slotted over a penalty.

And the visitors stretched their lead even further before the break after centre Ray Lee-Lo made a powerful break with Munster’s defence stretched, before slipping a neat pass inside to James to easily run in for his second.

Munster introduced flanker CJ Stander after half time, and his impact was immediate as he helped win a penalty soon after getting involved.

The Blues countered that by bringing on Wales captain Sam Warburton for his first appearance of the season following injury.

But it was the Irish side who gained the upper hand as they raised their intensity and speed of passing, and they were rewarded when the forwards won a penalty which Keatley slotted over to reduce the deficit to four points.

Forward power worked again just after the hour mark as replacement Kilcoyne bundled over from close range after they ground Cardiff down with a relentless drive.

Anscombe had the chance to bring the Blues level minutes later with a long-range penalty but, even though he struck it sweetly, it fell agonisingly short.

But Wilson’s men kept plugging away and eventually got through as Lee-Lo and Lloyd Williams combined to create space, and Fish burst through to touch down.

Munster responded straight away as Keatley kicked another penalty to get the gap down to just one point with 10 minutes left, but the Blues’ defence was impenetrable from there as they closed the game out for an impressive win.

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