Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Glasgow 31-3 Cardiff

R12-Glasgow v Cardiff

This key game at Firhill started with what the BBC would call great drama, elsewhere known as crap rugby. There was plenty of aerial ping pong, the ubiquitous fluffed kick off, an injury to Graeme Morrison after only 3 minutes and a bit of monkey business around Ryan Wilson’s eye from a Cardiff player; it was a slow start in terms of entertainment.

However once Wilson was back on his feet Glasgow surged forward, and he made the visiting Blues pay by barging over following a good set piece move. Weir converted and Glasgow settled in to dominate the first half.

As the pace increased Glasgow’s forwards went on the rampage, perhaps forcing the offload a bit too much but generally getting the bounce of the ball. They looked eager when they had possession, and off the ball their defence was an incredible irritant to Cardiff who struggled to get any rhythm going. Harley and Fusaro in particular were everywhere. Federico Aramburu got in on the act too with an immense hit on Jamie Roberts that set the Warrior Nation buzzing.

Even more surprising than the anonymity of Roberts, Cuthbert and Halfpenny for Cardiff was the amount of decisions Clancy gave Glasgow’s way, and also the miserly amount of kickable penalties that Glasgow conceded.

Late starting replacement Colin Shaw (in for Tommy Seymour) and fullback Stuart Hogg were keen to get involved in the attack, but often let down by sloppy offloads or passes. Hogg was not blameless in this respect himself; after gliding through a gap via one silky offload, he caused a move to break down with a forced offload attempt of his own that could easily have been kept in hand.

The most guilty though was Chris Fusaro who butchered a clear cut 2 on 1 overlap. All he had to do was execute a basic draw and pass and his winger was in. Basic stuff for a former Sevens player and it meant the lead before half time was not as great as it perhaps should have been, especially after a missed penalty and drop goal from Weir.

HT Glasgow 10-0 Cardiff

Soon after half time Wilson grabbed a second try which knocked all the breath from Cardiff. The Blues came out fired up, but Glasgow withstood that brief period of pressure and patiently worked their way back down to the end of the small Firhill pitch at which they wanted to play. Cusiter found a mismatch between Wilson and Halfpenny and the big forward duly barged over the try line from short range.

It wasn’t till 51 mins that Cardiff got on the board with a Leigh Halfpenny penalty – only his second attempt, which illustrates how good Glasgow’s discipline had been. By that point, Lineen’s selection was looking clever as having built a solid lead with his tried and tested he started bringing the international firepower off the bench with the likes of Richie Gray and Moray Low.

Weir was replaced by Jackson on 55mins, having had a good game but missing a few kicks. Wilson was in the wars again when his knee was trapped awkwardly in a ruck, bringing on further heavy artillery in the shape of John Barclay. The top quality bench helped Glasgow keep the pressure on when perhaps in the past they might have lost concentration, and showed the benefit of the squad depth that they look to be building.

Cardiff were a lot more canny with the territory and possession in the second half, but every time Glasgow got near the Cardiff 22 they looked dangerous. And so it was that after a great line of running from the very impressive Dunbar, Fusaro cut back inside with a neat step and flopped over the line to make amends for his earlier error. With 15 minutes to play and 24-3 up, the bonus point was clearly a target for the home team.

Tanned legend Gavin Henson came on for Cardiff to the delight of the Warrior faithful who by this point were having a good night and they found a new target for their jeers, Clancy having for the most part played it fair.

Not long after there was a third big stoppage for injury as John Barclay was knocked cold with what looked like a bad head/neck injury. The game was in the bag from Wilson’s second try but Glasgow were determined not to lose momentum in the last ten minutes of the game after Barclay’s injury, and challenge for the bonus point to keep them ahead of Ulster. Cusiter went down clutching his foot but luckily it wasn’t a serious problem and seconds later he broke off a Dunbar run to put Shaw in under the posts for the bonus point: mission very much accomplished.

The danger now is that those injuries hamper the strong league momentum they are building as the end of the season looms large, with Wilson, Barclay and Morrison key figures in a very switched-on Glasgow team hoping to challenge for RaboDirect Pro12 playoff places.

Attendance: 4,224

SRBlog Man of the Match: Wilson probably, had he stayed on, but Alex Dunbar was very impressive in the centre and showed why Hogg may remain at fullback for a while…

6 Responses

  1. It should be noted that Dunbar played most of the match at inside centre following the injury to Morrison, so the Hogg comparison was perhaps unmerited, in fact Hoggy played at 13 for chunks of the game following the shuffle.

  2. Alex Dunbar – wow. I’ve been hoping for him to get a run at 12 for a while, and he certainly didnt disappoint when Morrison had to leave the field. Direct, forceful, good hands and great running lines. He’s got a real knack for running directly at defenders yet gliding past them to create a half break or a bit of extra space. He gives team mates a target to support, and seems to distribute well. Just as we were all moaning at the lack of depth at 12 in Scotland, it seems like both pro teams have discovered potential gems.

    I hope Dunbar continues to play at 12, we really need to develop some quality in that position. Sadly, Morrison will probably get picked ahead of him, despite being very poor this season. He is the more experienced player after all, and we all know that that is far more important than form or quality in Scotland.

  3. Exactly MJW. Given AR’s painfully conservative selection policy Morrison will still get the nod at 12 for the next few tests. Dunbar looks to me a different class to Morrison. He’s also the form Scottish centre at the moment. We haven’t had a decent 12 for years – get him in the side!

  4. It’s never good to see a player injured, no matter what you think of their quality. Let’s just say that, as Rory put it above, I hope Dunbar is given a run in the 12 shirt while Morrison is out, and that Morrison isn’t just parachuted back in when he does return to fitness.

    It feels like, with Dunbar and Scott emerging, we are finally finding solutions to the ’12 Problem’ in Scotland. I would see no harm in both of them being selected for the summer tour, as I think that is a good opportunity to find solutions to these problem positions. I’d also like AR to take a chance at hooker and bring along Pat MacArthur, at prop by taking Ryan Grant and Grant Shiells, at lock by taking Gilchrist and MacKenzie, at flanker by bringing Rob Harley and at fullback by giving Tom Brown a chance.

    They don’t all have to play all the time, but we need to start blooding the new boys as, frankly, the performances from some of the old hands have not been up to snuff, and I’m fed up of players like S Lamont being shoe-horned into roles that don’t suit them.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion