Cardiff Blues v Glasgow Warriors
Cardiff Blues claimed top spot in Heineken Cup Pool 2 with a 29-20 victory over Glasgow Warriors at the Arms Park.
Tries from impressive young stand-off Rhys Patchell and Wales international winger Alex Cuthbert and six successful kicks from Lions star Leigh Halfpenny proved enough to keep Cardiff in the hunt for a quarter-final berth.
Glasgow made a fast start but failed to keep control of possession at crucial times and conceded too many penalties to gain any momentum.
Ryan Grant went in at the side and Halfpenny missed from the touchline, but moments later the Warriors were pinged for sealing off and this time Halfpenny made no mistake.
Cuthbert almost scored the first try but knocked on in goal as he tried to scoop up his own hack-on and it was left to Patchell to score the next points, slotting a monster penalty from five metres inside his own half.
Blues' turnovers were proving crucial and on 20 minutes Duncan Weir handed them a try-scoring opprtunity as he knocked on a simple pass in his own in-goal area.
From the resulting scrum Cuthbert got over the gainline and created the space for Patchell to charge over for a strong finish, with Halfpenny converting.
A Halfpenny penalty on 32 minutes stretched the lead to 16-0 but the Warriors gave themselves a lifeline on the stroke of half-time.
For once they retained possession and went through the attacking phases, before Sean Maitland cut inside Richard Smith to score, with Weir converting.
Halfpenny stretched the Blues' lead with a penalty just after the re-start but two Weir penalties got the visitors back to within six points with 20 minutes left.
Richard Smith's storming burst up the middle relieved the pressure for Cardiff and Glasgow conceded the penalty, which Halfpenny kicked.
But Glasgow looked to be in the ascendanacy and were pressing for what could have been a crucial score when Cuthbert saw his chance, timing his burst to the line perfectly and intercepting. He had a lot to do to score but held off Ruaridh Jackson on the outside to get in for the match-winning try, which Halfpenny converted.
With two minutes left Leone Nakarawa got over in the corner for the Warriors and Weir converted, but there was no time for them to threaten the score which would have earned a losing bonus point.
The two sides will meet again at Scotstoun next Friday in Round 4.
After the game a disappointed Gregor Townsend said: "Cardiff played well, they put a lot of pressure on us at the breakdown.
"It was a game of momentum swings, I thought we played pretty well in the first 15 minutes, we were making a lot of yards but just couldn't get the points on the board.
"Our performance next week will have to be a lot better. Cardiff showed what a good side they are; they've won two home games in the Heineken Cup and tonight they showed their quality and how much they wanted it and we've got to show that next week."
Al Kellock added: "I felt throughout the whole game we built pressure but then we relieved it ourselves. Some of it was self-inflicted but credit to the way they reacted when we did cough up the ball and credit to them for the pressure they put on at the breakdown.
"We cannot make it easy for teams to get out of their own 22 and we did that repeatedly."
Cardiff Blues: Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Richard Smith, Dafydd Hewitt, Harry Robinson; Rhys Patchell, Lloyd Williams; Sam Hobbs (capt), Kristian Dacey, Taufa'ao Filise, Chris Dicomidis, Filo Paulo, Macauley Cook, Robin Copeland, Rory Watts-Jones.
Replacements: Replacements: Dan Fish for Robinson (63), Gareth Davies for Patchell (77), Lewis Jones for L Williams (75), Thomas Davies for Hobbs (77), Marc Breeze for Dacey (77), Luke Hamilton for Cook (77), Ellis Jenkins for Watts-Jones (75).
Not Used: Bourrust.
Glasgow Warriors: Stuart Hogg; Sean Maitland, Gabriel Ascarate, Alex Dunbar, DTH van der Merwe; Duncan Weir, Niko Matawalu; Ryan Grant, Dougie Hall, Moray Low, Tom Ryder, Al Kellock (capt), Rob Harley, Chris Fusaro, Josh Strauss.
Replacements: Tyrone Holmes for Chris Fusaro (37), Chris Cusiter for Hogg (77), Ruaridh Jackson for Ascarate (63), Ed Kalman for Grant (71), Pat MacArthur for Hall (47), Jon Welsh for Low (47), Leone Nakarawa for Ryder (54), Ryan Wilson for Harley (63).