THERE are plenty of statistics flying around on all sides in Scotland at the moment, but the key number for Glasgow was the four points for an away win at one of the harder destinations in the Pro 12.
Scorers: Cardiff: Pens: Patchell (4). Glasgow – Tries: Lamont, Matawalu (2). Cons: Pyrgos, Weir (2). Pens: Pyrgos (2), Weir (2).
The scoreline looked generous compared to the closeness of the game, but Glasgow showed an ability to capitalise on key moments at good times – and that is a great habit to develop.
A first try from a turnover and the second from an interception, but what they had in common was a Glasgow player suddenly emerging into space with the ball against the run of play. They were also just before half-time and then when down to 14 men, very well timed scores indeed.
The Blues got off to the perfect start, a loose ball, an effective lineout drive and then a bit of Glasgow obstruction spotted by Irish referee John Lacey and Cardiff outside-half Rhys Patchell was able to slot the penalty from a wide angle out on the left.
Glasgow had the chance to equalise almost straightaway for a ruck offence, but wing Sean Lamont went for the quick tap, was held up just short and handling errors out wide brought an end to the chance.
Glasgow’s pressure was not to be denied, though. Another penalty round the fringes and this time they took the kick. Henry Pyrgos added the three points from just over 20 yards. Glasgow were able to maintain their high tempo on the 4G plastic pitch, entertaining the crowd with one dashing move which started on their own try line and took play 70 yards upfield.
Pyrgos added a second penalty, this time from a ruck offence, but the Blues were determined to show a bit of adventure of their own under new Kiwi director of rugby, Mark Hammett.
Patchell added another penalty, both sides continued to attack and stretch the defences without either team being able to make the breakthrough until Glasgow got the first try on the 33 minute mark.
Perhaps predictably, it came from a turnover when the defence was finally out of position. Blues centre Cory Allen was stripped of possession by Glasgow wing Lamont, who was able to set off down the touchline with just the covering Patchell to beat.
Lamont is not usually known for the subtlety of his dancing feet, but he shaped to cut inside and it was enough to hold Patchell and then his more easily recognisable strength in the tackle allowed the Scot to slip past on his way to the corner. Pyrgos added the two points so that Glasgow took a nice little lead into the dressing room with them at 6-13.
Glasgow coach Gregor Towsend changed his tighthead at half time and Jerry Yanuyanutawa conceded a penalty five yards into the Cardiff half, but one of the features of the artificial surface has been the prodigious distances from which Patchell has been able to kick penalties. Fifty-five yards was much closer than his greatest range and he duly kicked the penalty.
However, worse was to follow for Glasgow and replacement loosehead Gordon Reid when the prop played the ball from an offside position. Lacey deemed it a professional foul and brandished the yellow card.
Glasgow had also changed both half backs and Niko Matawalu was able to sniff out an interception with his first contribution to the game. Blues scrum-half replacement Lloyd Williams was looking for his blindside wing Dan Fish, but the Fijian grabbed the ball and raced to the corner. It went to the TMO but was never in doubt.
Weir converted from near the right hand touch line and then added another penalty as Glasgow scored ten points while down to 14 men to take the wind out of Cardiff’s sails.
DTH van der Merwe had come on to the left wing and Glasgow, back up to 15, were able to work him free outside of the defence on the left hand side.
With just the full back to beat, he passed back inside to the supporting Matawalu, who shrugged off a tackler to grab his second try.
Now it had gone from a game in which Glasgow held a slight advantage to one which was all about the bonus point for the fourth try.
They did not get particularly close to achieving that but could still be relieved with a good away win at a venue where a few of the top teams are likely to struggle but the new-look Blues settle down.
This was a win against the head for Glasgow.
Cardiff: A Thomas; A Cuthbert, C Allen, G Evans, D Fish; R Patchell, L Jones; S Hobbs, M Rees (c), A Jones, J Hoeata, F Paulo, J Turnbull, S Warburton, M Vosawai. Replacements: K Dacey for Rees (61), T Filise for Hobbs (71), S Andrews for A Jones (69), M Cook for Hoeata (54), J Navidi for Turnbull (61), L Williams for L Jones (57), G Davies for Patchell (69), R Smith.for Allen (61).
Glasgow: P Murchie; T Seymour, M Bennett, A Dunbar, S Lamont; P Horne, H Pyrgos; A Allan, P MacArthur, R de Klerk, T Swinson, J Gray, R Harley, C Fusaro, J Strauss (c). Replacements: F Brown for MacArthur (7), G Reid for A Allan (49), J Yanuyanutawa for de Klerk (40), L Nakarawa for Gray (63), J Eddie for Fusaro (71), N Matawalu for Pyrgos (54), D Weir for Bennett (54), DTH van der Merwe for Lamont (68)