Cardiff 23-19 Glasgow: Losing bonus point for Warriors

Stuart Hogg was among the Glasgow try-scorers but the night ended in disappointment for Gregor Townsend's side. Picture: SNS Group
Stuart Hogg was among the Glasgow try-scorers but the night ended in disappointment for Gregor Townsend's side. Picture: SNS Group
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Glasgow slipped to their first defeat of the season as injuries meant that having launched two comebacks, they were unable to string together a third.

They even ended up with a prop in the back row while the new-look back line struggled to click, though they claimed a bonus point in defeat and outscored the home side by three tries to two.

Outside half Rory Clegg had missed his easiest conversion as Glasgow trailed by a point for most of the second half, but a late penalty by Blues replacement Steve Shingler eased the home side to victory.

Of course this was a second versus fourth clash, albeit early season, between two sides who both now play their home games on artificial pitches and employ a free and open style to match.

Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend was happy to ring the changes after opening wins against last year’s Guinness Pro12 finalists Connacht and Leinster, first starts for former Newcastle outside half Clegg and centre Nick Grigg who came from New Zealand via Stirling.

Both sides had won their opening games, in contrast to last season’s struggles around the World Cup, so came into this one with confidence flying high.

However the changes behind the scrum for Glasgow meant a group of players who were pretty unfamiliar with each other and it showed in the early exchanges as the Blues held the upper hand.

A couple of penalties under the Glasgow posts gave easy conversions for home outside half Gareth Anscombe and then a mistake in the Glasgow midfield when attacking on halfway almost gifted a try.

The ball went lose, hacked forward by Blues centre Rey Lee-Lo but visiting outside half Clegg got back to make up for his own error and although they conceded a five-yard scrum they were able to relieve the pressure.

A break by full-back Matthew Morgan and wing Tom James piled the pressure back on and a neat move with Anscombe using dummy runners to put blindside wing Alex Cuthbert through gave the Blues a comfortable lead.

Glasgow hit back when Clegg released Peter Horne at an angle and his long pass to Stuart Hogg allowed the Scotland full-back to go over in the corner, well converted by Clegg.

Glasgow flanker Ryan Wilson knocked on from a long pass with the line at his mercy, but the visitors were not to be denied for long.

Scrum-half Ali Price darted into the 22 and centre Horne, pictured, was able to wriggle his way past four tacklers to work his way over the line for his team’s second try.

Glasgow just needed to see it through to half-time to complete a great first-half comeback, but they conceded a penalty on halfway after the clock had ticked past 40 minutes to give the home team hope.

They took full advantage with some superb offloading which allowed No 8 Josh Navidi to break into the 22 and release Lee-Lo to go over in the corner for the try, well converted from touch by Anscombe.

If the Blues would have been slightly happier at half-time, it was soon Glasgow who were smiling with left wing Lee Jones making ground before scrum-half Price wriggled his way over much as Horne had done before him.

Glasgow had a series of forward injuries which ended up with replacement prop Alex Allan playing flanker and were struggling to get fluency despite the introduction of Olympic silver medallist Mark Bennett in midfield.

When Greg Peterson pulled done opposing lock Josh Turnbull in the lineout with three minutes to go, Shingler coolly sealed victory for the Blues.