Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Glasgow Warriors 17 – 13 Cardiff Blues

Kyle Steyn - pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

Glasgow’s stuttering start to the season finally got jump-started with a hard-fought win over Cardiff, albeit with all the style and grace of a jump-started Lada Riva fit for the scrapyard.

Nick Grigg, preferred in the number 13 slot to Huw Jones, set Glasgow on their way with a trademark power-surge through Cardiff’s tackles. Although Rory Hughes was stopped, concurrent infringements for not rolling away gave Glasgow penalties, which, with an easy 3-points on offer, Glasgow took to the touchline.

Grant Stewart, who earlier had been watching his former side Glasgow Hawks in their match against Currie, was safe with his arrows, and Callum Gibbins went over at the secondary maul drive.

Grigg was involved again as Glasgow extended their lead shortly afterwards. Brandon Thomson delayed his pass until Grigg hit the line at serious pace, and once he drew the last man, found his Oceanic continent pal, Nick Frisby. Frisby used the continuation of Grigg’s running line to twist Matthew Morgan inside out and score. Warriors were now 14-0 up with under ten minutes played.

Aled Summerhill reduced the arrears from a maul move after Glasgow had been penalised for not releasing in the tackle at the restart, and it was a minor miracle that more points weren’t scored in the next 5mins.

Cardiff openside Olly Robinson, last season’s leading turnover exponent, pilfered a penalty as Gibbins broke into the 22 from Stewart’s offload. Cardiff themselves then threatened, until a spilt pass was kicked deep into touch by Frisby. From the Cardiff line-out, Stewart took a leaf out of George Horne’s book, and if he had been just two inches taller would have nicked Lloyd Williams pass back for the clearance.

Jarod Evans reduced the deficit with a penalty, then Kiran McDonald charged down a Williams box-kick, but it rolled dead with Evans covering the Cardiff in-goal area.

This was knackering just to watch.

Things simmered down a bit on the scoring front, but both teams were showing some attacking verve, only for execution to let both sides down in the final third.

A controversial tackle by Cardiff loosehead Matthew Morgan on Ruairidh Jackson went unpunished, when it appeared there was no attempt to wrap the arms. Given the precedent set by goings on in Japan, it looked a clear penalty.

The remaining few minutes of the half saw Cardiff on the front-foot, but they failed to increase their total. After that early quarter flurry, both teams hit the sheds for a well-earned breather.

Half-time: Glasgow Warriors 14 – 10

The rain had started up during the first half, which maybe contributed to the handling errors which had stopped the frentic scoring, and after a sloppy ball from Wes Halaholo, Nick Grigg dribbled up the right wing but was stopped by Summerhill.

Glasgow did open the second half scoring when Will Boyde stuck his hands in the ruck, allowing Thomson an easy kick in front of the sticks, but more sterling breakdown work from Olly Robinson allowed Jarod Evans to bring it back to a 4-point deficit.

Glasgow thought they had scored again from a rolling maul, only for referee Sean Gallagher to say it was held up, but Cardiff no:8 Will Boyde was again pinged for offside when Glasgow threatened from the scrum. Rather than take the easy 3-pointer, Thomson went for the corner. Almost prophetically, Stewart overthrew and that chance was gone.

As we went into the final quarter, and the game still in the balance, Glasgow replaced Nick Frisby with young gun Jamie Dobie. Frisby, often maligned, had actually played reasonably well this evening. As well as the try he had kicked accurately from hand.

Glasgow’s discipline had been an issue though, and when Gibbins was pinged for not rolling away, Jarrod Evans had the chance to reduce the deficit to a solitary point. He tried to take the penalty from a few metres further forward than where it had been awarded, but an observant Scotstoun crowd alerted referee Gallagher to his skull-duggery. The kick fell short, so well played Scotstoun.

There was some excellent breakdown work going on, and when Chris Fusaro won the ball back for Glasgow they set off on their way.

Once into the 22, a scrappy pass from Dobie, which forced Ruairidh Jackson to leap to take, had Rory Thornton’s eyes lighting up for a ferocious hit. However, the lock didn’t wait for Jackson to land, so after clattering the airborne Jackson, off to the sin-bin he went for 10mins, which would practically take us to full-time.

But Glasgow made a hash of it. They went to touch, had a couple of charges, spilt the ball backwards and retrieved possession, only for Matt Fagerson to knock on from a pick and go when he could smell the try-line beckoning.

In the 78th minute, Cardiff knocked on when trying to exit their 22, and at this point, Premier Sports cut off. Dear Premier Sports, sort your *stuff* out. We pay you for coverage, please provide it in a befitting fashion.

Glasgow had won a penalty just before it clicked off, and once coverage resumed, Glasgow went for the corner rather than an easy 3 which would run the clock down. Again, a failure to execute in a promising position, and another turnover penalty won by Cardiff, put the frighteners on.

Alas, Glasgow managed to hustle Cardiff into touch, and the win, as ugly as it was, was secured.

SRBlog MOTM: it wasn’t convincing, and he did seem to drift out of the game, but for his forceful running which gave Glasgow the early impetus, Nick Grigg gets the virtual bottle of champagne.

Sean Gallagher (IRFU)

4 Responses

  1. A really scrappy, somewhat fortuitous win for Glasgow there. I thought Mcdonald, Frisby & Grigg were good but I’m afraid that Jackson has looked a bomb scare at 15 so far this season and Rennie needs to get this position sorted if Glasgow are to progress.

  2. Cardiff never touched the ball for 11 minutes and we looked excellent however what followed was honking rugby. Some missed penalty touch finds and their try was from a restart. Did not punish them when they dropped to 14. Cardiff fielded a decent side with a few game turners such as Morgan on the pitch and we did well to get the win. Frustrating , job done, no bonus and we are in a precarious place in the table even this early IMO.We only lost 5 games last season ( 40% already this season).

  3. Haven’t been so unsatisfied by a win since Scotland’s win against Argentina in November. From 10 minutes onward this truly was a shocking game of rugby.

    We were very fortunate to win and need to seriously work on protecting possession…we got turned over with ease on so many occasions.

    That said, Olly Robinson was fantastic. We could really use a player like him.

  4. Hmmm. I’ve seen a lot of criticism of the performance. However in the circumstances I’d say it’s a good win for Glasgow thirds. As Ben F says, Cardiff are a decent team.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion