Glasgow Warriors 52-24 Cardiff Rugby: Is the Glasgow of old back?

As the Warrior Nation welcomed new Head Coach Franco Smith to Scotstoun for the first time, they had high expectations for their team and the Warriors delighted the home crowd by running in eight tries.  Glasgow came out the blocks with a strong physical attack. A penalty taken quickly by George Horne punched a hole in the Cardiff defence, but the attack was short-lived after the Welsh side was awarded a penalty. Scott Cummings won the first lineout of the game to reignite the Glasgow attack. The attack was cut short after a knock-on from Horne following another lineout. There was an early and unwanted substitution for Warriors after Rory Darge awkwardly twisted his leg in a tackle and could be out injured for a considerable period of time.  As play restarted, it didn’t take his replacement Tom Gordon long to get involved and win his first turnover. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as Cardiff won possession back. Max Llewellyn broke through the middle and Josh Adams gathered the recycled ball to dot down over the whitewash. Jarrod Evans added the extras giving Cardiff a 7-point lead after 18 minutes. The Warriors fought back straight from the restart. Stafford McDowall slotted through a gap in the defence, and it set Richie Gray and Fraser Brown up for some heavy carries. An offload from Jack Dempsey almost bore fruit but Jordan spilled it forward.  Glasgow broke into the Welsh 22 once again with some old-fashioned attacking play, but Thomas Young of Cardiff was sent to the bin for killing the ball close to the line. Glasgow took full advantage of the extra man and off the back of a rolling maul Brown crashed over the whitewash to score Glasgow’s first try. George Horne added the extras to bring the score level.  It didn’t take long for Glasgow to get a second try either and it was another of the type we didn’t see so much last season. Straight from the restart Sione Tuipulotu burst through the defence and passed it out to a screaming Sebastian Cancelliere who shifted it on to Cole Forbes who rolled over the try line. Wee George added the extras again to make it 14-7.  Glasgow were on fire. Putting on a show for the home crowd as they scored their third in as many minutes. Forbes took a great high ball, and it was shipped out wide. McDowall punted it over the top and Josh Adams returned the kick. Tuipulotu gathered and saw space in behind and nailed the kick creating a 50-22 15 meters out. Brown found Cummings at the lineout and the maul got to work. It looked like the Cardiff defence would hold but Matt Fagerson got over the line, and after a quick TMO check it was confirmed. Horne added the extras once again.  In a game with a number of cards there was a yellow card for Glasgow in the 33rd min, as a very lucky Tom Jordan was sent for a time-out after a high tackle…should it have been a red? After the restart Glasgow thought they had won a turnover, but the referee awarded the visitors a penalty to make it 21-10 at 37 minutes. Forbes looked to counter from the restart and there was a chance for a fourth try before half-time. Dempsey burst through and offloaded to Horne and he chipped it over the defence but Cardiff had it covered, Cummings charged down their kick and won a 5m scrum for Glasgow.  Zander went inches away from the line, Cardiff infringed and it was upgraded to a penalty for the home side who chose another scrum. The east stand were in full voice… All that singing paid off! Glasgow earned the bonus point before halftime, George Horne himself going over the line after throwing a signature dummy. The younger Horne brother added the extras to his own try. Half-time: Glasgow Warriors 28-10 Cardiff Blues  Cardiff came out swinging in the second half and it only took them 4 minutes to get their second try of the evening. If you asked the home crowd if it was a try it would have been a resounding no, but the officials claimed it touched the line, so the score was given. Evans converted and it was 28-17 but the Warriors struck back right away to keep the scoreboard will in their favour. Some great passing from Forbes, Tuipulotu and then the skipper Kyle Steyn found Richie Gray, who popped it back to Steyn who broke through the middle. Jamie Bhatti was there in support then the ball found Zander Fagerson who crashed over, making it three tries in three games for the number 3. Horne once again got the extras and Warriors were up to 35 points.  Steyn was replaced by Ali Price and some reshuffling saw Horne end up on the wing, Matawalu style.  Another penalty and then a second yellow for Cardiff after a high tackle from Uilisi Halaholo allowed Glasgow once again to take full advantage of the extra man. Brown crashed over the whitewash for his second try of the night.  Glasgow had a chance for another try as Dempsey ripped the ball and galloped up the pitch before McDowall and Tuipulotu teamed up but the last pass went loose and into touch.  There were more changes at the hour mark. On came Oli Kebble, George Turner and Lucio Sordoni for the front row and JP du Preez made his debut and Sintu Manjezi came on too.  It didn’t take long for Kebble to get involved and carry up into the Cardiff 22 with Manjezi in support. Tom Jordan did score a try – or so it seemed – but as the teams prepared for the restart the ref took another look via the TMO and the try was disallowed. As expected, boos could be heard around the ground from a very confused Warrior Nation.  Glasgow did, however, strike back through a Jack Dempsey break. Price fed him through the gap and Forbes sent Gordon over the whitewash to the delight of the Warrior Nation. An easy conversion for George made it 47-17 at 66 minutes. Cardiff had a lineout in the corner that drew a huge defensive counter ruck from Manjezi and Turner. However due to some handbags after awarding the initial penalty the ref revised his decision and awarded it to Cardiff instead.  The Welshmen managed to score from there; Liam Belcher was the man to crash over for Cardiff’s third and final of the night Glasgow were not finished though: good passing from Kebble to Turner managed to get the Scots into Cardiff territory. Forbes hoofed on McDowall’s chip kick, but it bounced into touch.  The lineout was stolen by du Preez and once again Dempsey impressed with his footwork before Price rallied the forwards and sent them in. Cardiff turned it over, but McDowall charged down Priestland’s clearance kick to keep the pressure on. Riding out a tap tackle the centre managed to end up over the whitewash.  Cardiff tried to fight back but the Glasgow defence was too strong. Dempsey had once last blast with ball in hand, but it wasn’t enough the clock ran out. Full time 52-24 SRBlog Man of the Match: George Horne was rightfully awarded the man of the match. The Warrior Nation left Scotstoun happy and hopeful their home ground is a fortress again. This looked like the Glasgow that we all know and love and have missed seeing.  Head Coach Franco Smith said he is “devastated for Rory Darge as he is a top player”. “It was an ankle injury, and he will be operated on in the morning”. Smith seemed hopeful it wouldn’t be season-ending, but doesn’t know when Darge will be back.  The post Glasgow Warriors 52-24 Cardiff Rugby: Is the Glasgow of old back? appeared first on Scottish Rugby Blog.