Glasgow Warriors 52-24 Cardiff: Rory Darge injury takes gloss off eight-try victory

The Franco Smith era at Glasgow Warriors got up and running with a dismantling of Cardiff which saw the home side score eight tries in a thoroughly entertaining 52-24 win.

George Horne was outstanding in Glasgow Warriors' 52-24 win over Cardiff. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
George Horne was outstanding in Glasgow Warriors' 52-24 win over Cardiff. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Unfortunately, the victory came at a cost, with Glasgow losing Rory Darge to a serious ankle injury early in the game which threatens to rule the flanker out for club and country for a considerable period.

It was a distressing moment for all concerned but the Warriors showed admirable resolve to recover and tries from Fraser Brown (2), Cole Forbes, Matt Fagerson, George Horne, Zander Fagerson, Thomas Gordon and Stafford McDowall secured an impressive bonus point victory in a performance that was in sharp contrast to last week’s tepid showing in Italy against Benetton.

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Horne, who kicked six conversions, was a worthy recipient of the man of the match award but there were plenty other notable performers in the home ranks, with Matt Fagerson and Jack Dempsey particularly effective.

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There were only 14 minutes on the clock when Darge got caught in an awkward position in the ruck and immediately signalled for help. He was given oxygen before being wheeled off on a stretcher and replaced by Thomas Gordon.

Glasgow seemed momentarily stunned and Cardiff capitalised when Jarrod Evans looped a delightful pass into the path of Josh Adams. The Wales wing collected superbly and scored in the corner, with Evans knocking over the extras.

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Glasgow responded in the best possible fashion, scoring three tries in seven minutes. Their cause was helped by a yellow card for Cardiff flanker Thomas Young for illegally stopping Seb Cancelliere as he bore down on the tryline.

Glasgow kicked the penalty to the corner and from the lineout drive Brown powered over. Horne’s conversion drew Glasgow level and they moved ahead a couple of minutes later with a scintillating score from their own 22.

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Warriors' Rory Darge is forced off with an injury. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

It was a break worthy of the old Warriors and Cardiff had no answer to the home side’s pace as Sione Tuipulto and Cancelliere tore up the right flank before moving the ball out to Forbes. The full-back was tackled a couple of yards short but his momentum took him over.

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Glasgow kept their foot on the gas and notched a third when Matt Fagerson forced his way over from the close range after good work by big brother Zander. Just as he had with the first two, Horne landed the conversion from wide on the right.

Smith’s side were flying and not even a sin-binning for Tom Jordan could halt their momentum. The stand-off had impressed in the opening half hour but was guilty of a high tackle on Adams.

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Adams kicked a penalty to reduced the home side’s lead to 21-10 but Glasgow finished the half with a flourish, scoring a fourth try through Horne who dummied and burrowed his way over before chipping over the conversion.

Stafford McDowall scores Glasgow's eighth and final try. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
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Cardiff scored early in the second half through Kristian Dacey but any hope of a comeback was quashed as Glasgow added four more tries.

The first came from Zander Fagerson who did well to ground the ball as he was helped over the line by Scott Cummings and Gordon. Cardiff were further diminished when they lost Willis Halaholo to the sin-bin for a high tackle on Brown. The Scotland hooker rubbed salt in the wound by picking up his second try of the night from the subsequent lineout drive.

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Jordan thought he had bagged the first try of his pro career but it was disallowed for a forward pass after a lengthy wait. The noisy home crowd didn’t like it but they didn’t have long to wait as Gordon capitalised on brilliant work by the impressive Jack Dempsey.

Cardiff got a score back through replacement hooker Liam Belcher but Glasgow had the final say when Stafford McDowall charged down Rhys Priestland’s chip to score the Warriors’ eighth try.

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Scorers: Glasgow Warriors: Tries: Brown 2, Forbes, Matt Fagerson, Horne, Zander Fagerson, Gordon, McDowall. Cons: Horne 6.

Cardiff: Tries: Adams, Dacey, Belcher. Cons: Evans 2, Priestland. Pens: Evans.

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Glasgow Warriors: Cole Forbes; Sebastian Cancelliere, Sione Tuipulotu, Stafford McDowall, Kyle Steyn (Ali Price 50); Tom Jordan (Domingo Miotti 66), George Horne; Jamie Bhatti (Oli Kebble 59), Fraser Brown (George Turner 59), Zander Fagerson (Lucio Sordoni 59), Scott Cummings (Sintu Manjezi 59), Richie Gray (JP du Preez 59), Matt Fagerson, Rory Darge (Thomas Gordon 14), Jack Dempsey.

Cardiff: Matthew Morgan; Aled Summerhill, Mason Grady (Willis Halaholo 49), Max Llewellyn, Josh Adams; Jarrod Evans (Rhys Priestland 65), Tomos Williams (Lloyd Williams 54); Rhys Carré (Brad Thyer 65), Kristian Dacey (Liam Belcher 49), Dillon Lewis (Keiron Assiratti 49), Josh Turnbull (Lopeti Timani 49), Seb Davies (Matthew Screech 65), James Botham, Thomas Young, James Ratti.

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Referee: Chris Busby (IRFU)

Attendance: 5,790

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