It was essentially the Glasgow Warriors ‘A’ team out on show at Firhill on Friday, and the lack of strength in depth had to look worrying for Sean Lineen. Cardiff looked far more physically imposing and far better drilled against a Glasgow team hadn’t really played together before and looked like it.
In the first half, hope for the future Ruaridh Jackson had three chances to get some points on board for the Warriors but missed three kicks in a row and it only served to damage his confidence. He regressed into becoming a shell of himself as he repeatedly missed touch from penalties and looked pedestrian with ball in hand. His first penalty came from a Cardiff Blue holding on to the ball but he didn’t have the legs from near the half way line. On the other hand, after 11 minutes, Ben Blair for the Cardiff Blues looked composed in front of goal as he kicked his first in a run of successful kicks.
Glasgow had a few successful breaks in the opening 2o minutes, notably one from DTH Van Der Merwe who offloaded to Richie Gray who didn’t have the legs. James Eddie, wearing number 6, looked effective on the crash balls he received from scrum-half Mark Mcmillan but Glasgow didn’t have the support play to capitalise.
Glasgow’s game-plan didn’t prove to be effective as at some point it seemed to amount to high hit-and-hopes from Mcmillan or Jackson which would result in a loss of possession for the Warriors. Cardiff took advantage of being given the ball and spent a significant period of time in the Glasgow 22, with a try being prevented by the referee calling a penalty, and subsequently giving a yellow card to Hefin O’Hare. Instead of forcing the issue, Blues again relied on the boot of Blair to make it 9-0 before half time
The second half got off to a bad start for the Warriors as Cardiff’s Gareth Cooper put the ball over the line soon after the kick off. This sparked a continuing in the downturn in atmosphere at Firhill, as the fans began to take our their frustrations by shouting at the referee for missing high tackles, booing Ben Blair whenever he stepped up to kick at goal and screaming at hapless Ruaridh Jackson as he repeatedly missed touch.
On the 48th minute fan favourite Colin Gregor came on as a blood replacement for Mark Mcmillan, but he could do nothing to prevent a try from Casey Laulala which was again converted by Blair, bringing the score to 23-0.
When Mcmillan returned to the field he didn’t replace Gregor, but instead Jackson to put him out of his misery as he finished a performance which showed he has a lot of work to do before stepping into the shoes of Dan Parks, who will be playing for the Blues next season.
Tom James, the Cardiff winger scored a great individual try which further piled on the pressure to a Warriors performance that was losing any shape that it had to begin with. After the conversion the score was 30-0.
With the game out of sight, Glasgow began to bring on more club players, with Alex Dunbar and Paul Burke, co-founders of Shoe Hero, both getting a chance to impress. Glasgow also began to perform more fluently with Colin Gregor at stand off who was far more confident with the boot and was at the centre of a spell of lively and creative play by Glasgow. DTH Van Der Merwe was unlucky not to break through with another good break in the last ten minutes, as was Fergus Thomson who just didn’t have the legs.
On the 77th minute Gregor managed to kick the ball into touch which received mock applause from the Warriors fans who were delighted to see the ball actually go out. After the line out, Glasgow finally showed their worth with a nice run of play which ended in a powerful Max Evans burst past the try line. After scoring he made a “T” sign with his hands as a message to his brother Thom. Gregor managed to convert from between the posts.