Glasgow Warriors must improve before campaign in Europe

Grayson Hart was a nervous spectator in the last five minutes. Picture: SNS
Grayson Hart was a nervous spectator in the last five minutes. Picture: SNS
  • Cardiff Blues 30-35 Glasgow Warriors
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A BONUS point win away from home is never to be taken for granted but, in truth, this is a game Glasgow Warriors will review today and then attempt to forget about as soon as possible. It certainly won’t be good enough to win when they head to Paris in the Champions Cup this weekend and nobody in the camp is kidding themselves it was.

“With that discipline it would be tough to get a result,” said Grayson Hart, the scrum-half, afterwards. “We made errors and put ourselves under pressure. Racing 92 are a pretty classy outfit. You never know in rugby but against opposition like that it will be tough to get the win if we put ourselves under that much pressure.

“We did do really well when we built a lot of phases near their try line, though. We put them under a lot of pressure and came away with the results most times we were down there so that is something we need to keep building on. Definitely a lot of positives.”

He is right. The big plus for Glasgow is that when they did create pressure they almost always turned it into a score of some sort and, when the tables were reversed and it was Cardiff on attack, they managed to hold the line secure more often than not.

The Scots gave away 19 penalties as well as two yellow cards, so no wonder that Rhys Patchell, the Cardiff stand-off, was in a position to keep his side in the game with six penalties, many from long range, particularly in the first half when he had the stiff wind behind him.

The Scots, meanwhile, were struggling with that same wind, failing to clear their lines when they went for length, failing to regather the ball when they went short to contest possession. It was a failing that handed Cardiff the territorial advantage and just before half-time they were 17-8 up, with centre Gavin Evans scoring the try and Patchell doing the rest of the damage with the boot to overshadow a typically audacious try by Leone Nakarawa, the Glasgow lock.

Glasgow hauled themselves back into the game both just before and just after the break, Tommy Seymour setting them up and Taqele Naiyaravoro finishing on the opposite wing before Finn Russell added the penalty that nudged the Scots ahead.

The penalty count kept mounting though, and when Ryan Wilson, who had come on in the back row, was the unlucky one to be singled out for a sin bin, Cardiff edged ahead again with two more Patchell penalties.

With 17 points in six minutes as Ryan Grant and Jonny Gray both crashed over from short range, and Russell added both conversions and a penalty, the Scots should have taken a grip on the game, only to surrender a penalty try and a sin bin when Stuart Hogg made a mess of an attempted interception when Cardiff had a two-man overlap. They then faced a five-minute barrage as the hosts went for the try in the last phase of the game before rescuing a loose ball to end the match.

“For the last 25 minutes, I was in the crowd watching and was a very nervous spectator,” Hart said. “The momentum had a couple of changes in that second half and then the last five minutes or so was nerve-wracking.”