Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


PRO14 Round 3: Cardiff vs Glasgow

Dave Rennie
Glasgow Head Coach Dave Rennie - pic © ALASTAIR ROSS | Novantae Photography

This weekend it will be a case of “anything Edinburgh can do, we can do better” as Glasgow Warriors set off for Cardiff where Edinburgh picked up a win in Round 1.

Dave Rennie isn’t taking anything for granted and he’s put out a strong team to make the journey. The Cardiff team they will face is stronger than the one that Edinburgh beat and will be playing to restore a bit of pride. Sam Warburton will sit this one out through injury, so no change there then.

In the backs, only Ali Price is missing from the currently available first choices with Henry Pyrgos to captain the side in the absence of Ryan Wilson. Nick Grigg gets a start, but swap him for Huw Jones and Jackson for Hogg and that’s pretty much the first choice back line you imagine (maybe Sarto or Masaga on one wing).

Up front, Rennie sticks with the young front row and George Turner continues his run at hooker where he’s probably played more in the last three weeks than he did for Edinburgh in a couple of years. Cockers might want him back soon…

Adam Ashe too is a player benefitting from game time and he’s part of a new back row unit with Gibbins and Matt Fagerson. Not sure Fag-Ash-Gibbon will catch on as a nickname like Killer Bs did though…

In the boilerhouse Tim Swinson will play his 100th game for Glasgow. If he does as well as Dunbar did last weekend on his, Cardiff are in trouble.

The bench also features fan favourite (and coaches nightmare) Niko Matawalu, who although a couple of years older may be no more sensible but is there anyone better at terrorising defences late in the game?

Welcome back, Niko.

Cardiff Blues: Rhun Williams; Alex Cuthbert, Rey Lee-Lo, Willis Halaholo, Tom James; Steve Shingler, Lloyd Williams; Rhys Gill; Matthew Rees (capt), Keiron Assiratti, Seb Davies, Damian Welch, Josh Turnbull, Josh Navidi, Nick Williams.
Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Brad Thyer, Dillon Lewis , George Earle, Macauley Cook, Tomos Williams, Jarrod Evans, Matthew Morgan.

Glasgow Warriors: 15. Ruaridh Jackson, 14. Tommy Seymour, 13. Nick Grigg, 12. Alex Dunbar, 11. Lee Jones, 10. Finn Russell, 9. Henry Pyrgos (capt); 1. Jamie Bhatti, 2. George Turner, 3. Zander Fagerson, 4. Tim Swinson, 5. Scott Cummings, 6. Matt Fagerson, 7. Callum Gibbins, 8. Adam Ashe.
Replacements: 16. Pat MacArthur,  17. Alex Allan, 18. D’arcy Rae, 19. Brian Alainu’uese, 20. Chris Fusaro, 21. George Horne, 22. Peter Horne, 23. Niko Matawalu.

Unavailable players: Fraser Brown (ankle), Jonny Gray (wrist), Adam Hastings (thigh), Stuart Hogg (shoulder), Oli Kebble (foot), Paddy Kelly (ankle), Lelia Masaga (calf), Ratu Tagive (achilles), Leo Sarto (groin), Richie Vernon (achilles), Samuela Vunisa (knee) and Ryan Wilson (neck).

Saturday 16 September, live on S4C (kick-off 7.35pm)

26 Responses

  1. Thats one hell of a fast bench replacements – George horne and Niko either 1 is a defenses nightmare nevermind both, P horne will keep that backline going fast also and is a class act.

  2. Quick change the first line of the article. Edinburgh doing their best to sink Scottish rugby, again.

  3. Yep, already looking like it’s going to be a long night… Dunbar’s defending as if he’s playing England.

  4. for me pyrgos will not cut it after this season and is struggling to keep the tempo quick for russell , the sooner horne is on the better.

    1. Pyrgos has had another disastrous game, but it’s been pretty crap from Glasgow. About what you’d expect from Cardiff, though…

  5. bhatti should not be starting until he sorts his scrummaging out, very good in open play but set piece is needed, pyrgos way to slow and meant whenever finn managed to get the ball wide the defense was already on them, credit to cardiff also for putting the pressure on but was made to easy for them

    a coach error for me not putting george horne or niko at scrumhalf around the 55-60 min mark .

    handling has been atrocious and serious graft need to be done in training to get the skills up.

    Also the ref was awful glasgow and cardiff were unlucky in alot of desicions i feel.

  6. Watched the first half. Fast, furious, frenetic rugby. Cardiff had the edge, helped by Glasgow’s too frequent errors. Great to see the game played at pace, with slick passing, but HOLD ON TO THE BLOODY BALL!

  7. can we get a players rating report ? im really interested to see how other people are rating certain individuals, for me turner and jackson have impressed more than i thought , jones has kicked on his consistent form from last season. it was good to see matawalu terrorising cardiff on the few times he got the ball (just need to hold onto it)

    the combo of swinson and cummings seems to lack bulk in the scrum and would perhaps have brian or peterson in.

  8. A win is a win! That said, much improvement needed, the line out, probably more than anything. Not sure how many ‘get out of jail cards’ you have in a season, but that was definitely one!

  9. A poor performance from Glasgow. How many times can a side knock-on in a single game. Must be some kind of record tonight.
    Ashe, Pyrgos, Jackson, Grigg, Dunbar, Bhattiem, Turner, Matawalu all coughed the ball up. Several of them more than once. Incredibly frustrating game. They have to look after the ball better. Munster and Leinster will murder them if they do the same against them. Lucky to get the win, especially with a referee like that one.

  10. Help ma boab! Last 15 minutes looked like a demonstration from the Warriors of how to lose a narrow lead. The points on losing possession have already been made. Why not compound that with a few poorly executed positional and clearance kicks? Rennie’s face during those closing minutes was a picture.
    Agree stronger sides than Cardiff will ruthlessly exploit such sloppiness.
    Still, looking back later in the season, this could turn out to have been a crucial away win.
    Lots of work for Glasgow and Edinburgh to do before their next games!

  11. I’m a positive guy & “isn’t it the sign of a good team that plays badly & wins” is my positive slant from last night.

    As poor a Glasgow performance as I can remember, the amount of turnovers conceded was astonishing.

    Pygros is struggling, took the wrong option repeatedly, G.Horne should’ve been on far earlier, Dunbar looked out of sorts too. Russell kicked well but mixed. Niko did what Niko does, brilliant/terrible in same play.


  12. That was a tough watch. Agree with the points already made and will offer a couple more.

    The timing of runners backs and forwards looks off, a little too flat for me resulting in a lot of pressure on the receiver in the face of the opponent or a slightly forward pass. A flat pass on the gain line can be devastating but it looks forced and telegraphed at times at the moment. Is this an issue with how training runs are set up? I don’t know, but I do think it’s fixable. There were also a lot of phases where players are taking the ball standing still. Schoolboy stuff.

    Defence was poor at times and passive for a lot of the game. Line speed must be better.

    Too many Hollywood plays. Finn’s kicking game wasn’t good today. Too many chip kicks which were poorly executed. Pyrgos doesn’t help him with his ponderous play.

    Really pleasing to see Adam Ashe get a good run of games. He has a great opportunity to take the 8 jersey and push for the Scotland squad. Carrying well and getting around the pitch.

    Hope the boys are ready for a brutal week of training! Onwards and upwards.

  13. Whilst the article states Rennie selected a strong team, it still feels a long way from the first XV… I would say only Seymour, Dunbar, Russell, Fagerson, Gibbins and Ashe are firth choice in their positions…

    Still a few players to be reintroduced and a few annoying early season knocks, viz Hastings, Kebble, Masaga and Sarto…

    I just hope the squad is in a good shape for Exeter and Leinster…

  14. Glasgow didn’t look like their heads were in the game – maybe half an eye on Munster next week?

    Still, as has been said, a win is a win, but I can’t remember being as frustrated watching a game of rugby before, except maybe that Scotland v Wales game at Murrayfield a few years back when Wales got loads of penaltys when they engaged early at scrums.

  15. Would be interested on thoughts whether the ball seemed slow from the breakdown because of Pyrgos or the referee not making the tackler roll away. Certainly in the first half I felt cardiff were repeatedly lying on the wrong side and not even attempting to get out of Pyrgos’s way. In saying that I think he is struggling – one ruck in the second half Matawalu nearly pushed him out of the way to pick and go through the middle.

    Also though we were harshly dealt with (I am no expert) at scrum time.

    Poor performance but an away win is still valuable.

  16. I don’t get why Rae and Allen are not first choice. Bhatti and Fagerson can’t scrummage. As soon as Allen came on he dominated Cardiff tighthead. I’d promote both. Whilst the other two are great in the loose, you can’t win the big games without a scrum.

  17. I’d also give Horne and Johnson a proper chance going forward over Pyrgos and Dundar. The latter simply isn’t a good enough tackler, he’s been exposed for over a year now missing crucial tackles time and again in almost every game. Again he seems to be picked because of his work over the ball but tackling is slightly more important I’d say.

    1. I think Johnson is injured currently – I’m sure he picked up a knock against Connacht.

      Pyrgos seems to have a massive downturn in form from where he was in the Championship winning side, and I would put him in 3rd place in the SH pecking order.

      So far this season I have been impressed by Ashe, Gibbins, Big Brian, Jones, Grigg, and Johnson, Hastings and Kebble before they were injured. Everyone else seems to still be in holiday mode.

      1. Pyrgos is just as infuriating at club level as he is at Int. level. His automatic kicking the ball back when retaining possession is the obvious better option is just ridiculous. He also looks too slow for either Rennie’s or Townsends game style. Bad decision making him a captain also. Don’t want him anywhere near future Scotland selections. Price, Laidlaw and G.Horne even SHC (this season) all far better SH options.

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