Glasgow 22 - 15 Cardiff: Warriors win opener

Alex Dunbar is halted by Cardiff duo Josh Navidi and Gavin Evans. Picture: SNS
Alex Dunbar is halted by Cardiff duo Josh Navidi and Gavin Evans. Picture: SNS
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The game was evenly poised with Cardiff leading by 15-12 when this scrappy, error-strewn match was eventually decided in Glasgow’s favour thanks to a moment of magic from Tommy Seymour with 13 minutes to play.

SCORERS: Glasgow - Seymour (try), Wight (2 pens), Bennett (2 pens), Jackson (pen, con) ; Blues - Patchell (5 pens)

The ball was hit up by Sean Lamont and, when it was moved right, there seemed little immediate danger.

The speedy winger thought otherwise. He cut inside before curving back out towards the corner flag and he hit the afterburners leaving everyone for dead before handing off fullback Tom Williams as he dived over the line. It was the only try of the evening and Seymour was only on the pitch after an injury to Byron McGuigan. The winger, capped by Scotland in the summer, was over the line again a little later before being pulled back for a previous infringement, but Jackson added Glasgow’s fifth penalty to make things safe.

Trailing by seven points, Cardiff threw everything at the home team in the final few minutes and the TMO was called upon after scrum-half Lloyd Williams darted under the posts, but Glasgow held out for the win.

Both teams could have done without a constant drizzle that fell from the first whistle to the last and very obviously affected the home side, who were well below their best. Summer rust was obvious, the Warriors lacked their habitual bite in defence and too many players made too many errors, every one of which put the team under pressure.

Henry Pyrgos dropped one high ball and the disease was obviously infectious, because the normally reliable Peter Murchie spilled the next and Glasgow were a little lucky to escape without conceding points.

Scott Wight got a rare chance to shine with Duncan Weir and Ruaridh Jackson returning from injury, but the fly-half made a few too many unforced errors, including kicking the ball dead three times in total, one of which was from a restart.

It was typical of a game which had a familiar early-season feel to it, with heaps of enthusiasm held back by plenty of mistakes on both sides. The two teams were shadow boxing for much of the first half, feinting and probing without every unleashing any of their big guns.

It was a cagey affair, with both sides opting for early penalties to settle the early nerves. Wight opened the scoring from 49 metres and Rhys Patchell replied twice for the Blues before Mark Bennett kicked a boomer from just inside his own half.

Much of the game was being played in the middle of the park but the momentum seemed to have swung the visitors’ way when Glasgow lost two players within two minutes of each other. First, McGuigan limped off with Seymour getting a run off the bench. Then, on the 20-minute mark, skipper Al Kellock went down awkwardly clutching his leg and he was stretchered off to the consternation of everyone. Jonny Gray got an early introduction to the RaboDirect in his first season as a full-time professional and won a lineout with his first touch of the ball.

Glasgow spilt the Blues defence when Sean Lamont made a typically telling run off his left wing after the big men stole a throw at the sidelines but Wight over-cooked his cross-field kick for Seymour and the ball rolled harmlessly into touch.

Instead, the home team had to content themselves with their third and fourth penalties of the evening. Blues centre Owen Williams checked Muchie off the ball, was sent to the sidelines for his trouble and watched Cardiff concede six precious points in his absence. Wight kicked the penalty from that offence but fluffed another opportunity when Gray was taken out in the air at an attacking lineout. Still, Glasgow had one final opportunity and Bennett kicked a long-range effort for the second time of asking.

The weather was now dominating proceedings more than either team could manage, with the rain making handling conditions treacherous. Wight and Patchell both attempted to gain territorial superiority with raking kicks but neither man was entirely successful and, when they did attempt to move the ball, both teams handled like it was a bar of soap, which was close to the truth.

Patchell did drag three points back ten minutes into the half after a scrum collapsed, so the new etiquette is not foolproof, miscued a long-range effort minutes later but levelled

the scores soon enough after Murchie spilled another Garryowen.

If Glasgow enjoyed the better of the first 40, Cardiff camped inside the opposition half for long periods after the break, so it was against the run of play that Bennett got another penalty chance, his easiest of the evening, but it was his turn to fluff his effort.

Instead, Patchell peppered the corners, the Blues won an attacking lineout and Patchell sat back in the pocket and nailed as sweet a drop goal as you’ll see all season.

The Glasgow crowd were getting restless but Seymour stepped up to earn Glasgow their eighth consecutive win at Scotstoun.

Glasgow: Murchie; Lamont, Bennett, Dunbar, McGuigan (Seymour 18min); Wight (Jackson 65), Pyrgos (Cusiter 65); Yanuyanutawa (Reid 55), MacArthur, Kalman (Low 55), Swinson, Kellock (Gray mins), Fusaro (Holmes 65), Vernon.

Cardiff: T Williams; Robinson, O Williams, Evans (Hewitt 46), Czekaj; Patchell, L Williams; Taufa’ao, Matthew, Andrews, Davies, Paulo, Cook, Navidi, Copeland (Hamilton 57).