Glasgow Warriors v Cardiff Blues
The Warriors’ Heineken Cup dreams for this season are all but over after Cardiff Blues defeated Glasgow for the second time in a week, running out 9-7 winners at Scotstoun.
The visitors impressed early on and found themselves 6-0 to the good after 25 minutes.
In the remainder of the half though, it was Glasgow who were in the ascendency and they touched down under posts through Niko Matawalu but the try was disallowed.
In the second half, Cardiff kicked another penalty but the Warriors remained in the game and scored a try through Ryan Grant which was converted. However, the home side couldn’t add any more points on the scoreboard giving Cardiff the victory.
Townsend rang the changes following last week’s 29-20 defeat to the Blues, with the imposing Leone Nakarawa making his first start for the club.
Byron McGuigan also partnered Alex Dunbar in the centre for the first time.
After their victory in the Welsh capital, it was the Blues who started the stronger, taking a 3-0 lead after six minutes courtesy of an astonishing kick from Rhys Patchell who slammed the ball between the sticks from 60 metres.
With 16 minutes on the clock, a Glasgow foul allowed Cardiff the chance to increase their lead but Leigh Halfpenny stroked the ball wide.
Four minutes later, the British & Irish Lions star made no mistake, doubling his side’s lead.
Glasgow responded and after 25 minutes they stormed forward through a scintillating Tommy Seymour run which allowed the home side the opportunity to build pressure.
After a prolonged period camped on Cardiff’s line, Glasgow were handed a golden opportunity when Sam Hobbs was sin-binned for standing up in a five metre scrum.
The Scotstoun faithful were then sent into raptures after 34 minutes when fans’ favourite Niko Matawalu dived over for a try. With the Glasgow supporters celebrating, referee, Pascal Gauzere consulted the TMO and the try was disallowed after Rob Harley was adjudged to have obstructed Rhys Patchell.
Glasgow went into the dressing room at half-time 6-0 down and when they re-emerged, Josh Strauss appeared, replacing Al Kellock and taking over the captaincy.
In the early exchanges of the second period, Glasgow dominated the possession statistics but were error strewn, giving the visiting side confidence.
In order to add attacking edge to their game, Townsend enlisted the services of the club’s top try scorer, DTH van der Merwe, replacing Byron McGuigan.
After 58 minutes, Glasgow had their first opportunity from a penalty but Ruaridh Jackson lofted his kick wide.
Leigh Halfpenny was on song though and increased Cardiff’s lead to 9-0 after 64 minutes.
As the game entered into the closing stages, Townsend fielded Duncan Weir, Ed Kalman, Chris Cusiter and Dougie Hall in a bid to breathe life into Glasgow and the changes paid dividends.
The Warriors camped themselves inside Cardiff’s 22 and Ryan Grant dived between the sticks before Weir converted the score, giving Glasgow hope.
With two minutes remaining, Duncan Weir had the chance to put Glasgow into the lead but his kick from distance sailed wide, allowing Cardiff to run out winners.
Glasgow Warriors: Hogg, Maitland, McGuigan, Dunbar, Seymour, Jackson, Matawalu, Grant, MacArthur, Welsh, Nakarawa, Kellock, Harley, Holmes, Wilson. Replacements: van der Merwe for McGuigan (53), Weir for Jackson (65), Cusiter for Matawalu (65), Hall for MacArthur (65), Kalman for Welsh (65), Strauss for Kellock (41), Fusaro for Holmes (69). Not Used: Yanuyanutawa.
Cardiff Blues: Halfpenny, Cuthbert, Smith, Patchell, Robinson, G. Davies, L. Williams, Hobbs, Dacey, Filise, Dicomidis, Paulo, Cook, Watts-Jones, Copeland. Replacements: T. Davies for Hobbs (76), Breeze for Dacey (73), Pretorius for Dicomidis (65), E. Jenkins for Watts-Jones (54). Not Used: Bourrust, Down, Jones, Fish.
Sin Bin: Hobbs (31)