Glasgow Warriors 17-13 Cardiff Blues

Two quick-fire tries proved decisive for Glasgow Warriors this evening, as a solid defensive shift saw them earn a 17-13 victory over Cardiff Blues at Scotstoun.

Callum Gibbins and Nick Frisby each crossed for scores within the opening ten minutes, before the Warriors defence took centre stage to grind out a first win of the 2019/20 campaign.

Right from the first whistle, the Warriors were keen to show their attacking intent. Brandon Thomson’s decision to turn down an easy three points in favour of the kick to touch was met with a roar of approval from the Scotstoun faithful, and it was a decision vindicated just three minutes later. A five-metre lineout saw a maul too powerful to stop rumble captain Gibbins over the line, with Thomson converting for a 7-0 lead.

If the first try was all about forward power, the backs made sure to show off their own scintillating skills just moments later. A superb line break from the returning Nick Grigg allowed the centre to feed the supporting Frisby, who showed good footwork to outwit the covering defender and dive over. Another conversion from Thomson, and the hosts led 14-0 after nine minutes.

Not to be outdone, the Blues replied with a try of their own from their first visit to Glasgow territory. A penalty kicked to touch by Jarrod Evans saw a rolling maul stopped short, before Aled Summerhill cut an impressive line to dive over untouched. The conversion from Evans was simple, cutting the home side’s lead in half.

A breathless start almost saw another try after just 17 minutes, as Grant Stewart spotted an opportunity to impersonate George Horne by going for an interception from a Cardiff lineout on their own five-metre line. The ball agonisingly sailed through his fingers, however, and the chance went astray.

Instead, it was the Blues who registered the next points, with Evans making no mistake with a penalty from 40 metres to narrow the gap to 14-10 after 20 minutes.

The remainder of the half saw defences to the fore; Kiran McDonald’s pursuit of a first try in Glasgow colours came up just short after the ball dribbled dead from his chargedown of Lloyd Williams’ box-kick, whilst only a covering tackle from Stafford McDowall denied Matthew Morgan from crossing for the visitors.

There was to be no further scoring in the opening stanza, though, with neither side willing to give an inch in an increasingly fiery encounter under the floodlights.

Whilst not quite in the same frenetic vein as the first, the second half began at pace. A misplaced pass from Willis Halaholo allowed Nick Grigg to hack the ball forward, and whilst the centre was outpaced by Summerhill he was more than happy to tackle the Cardiff winger into touch.

His actions indirectly led to the next points of the match, to boot – from the resulting lineout, a Matt Fagerson carry set up a ruck from which the Blues were penalised, allowing Thomson to knock over another three points to extend the lead to 17-10.

Once more, Evans was on target when presented with the opportunity to cancel out the effort of his opposite number. The Welsh international’s penalty from 40 metres just had the distance, and the score was 17-13 with half an hour to play.

From then on, chances were few and far between. With the rain now coming down in suitably October conditions, defences were well and truly on top, with big hits coming in from both sides. The next clear-cut opportunity for points fell the way of Evans on 63 minutes, but this time the fly-half’s penalty from 45 metres was well short of the uprights.

At the other end, time and again the Warriors opted to kick to the corner when penalty decisions went their way. Yet on every occasion the Blues held firm, including a sterling effort from Will Boyde to hold the ball up over his own try-line to prevent a crucial Glasgow score.

Even when Cardiff second-rower Rory Thornton was sent to the sin-bin, the hosts were unable to break through. There were moments to savour for George Thornton and Johnny Matthews, however – the front-row duo each made their first competitive appearance at Scotstoun, and in the case of the former the occasion marked his club debut.

No matter for the hosts, however – in a match defined by defence, it was fitting that it was left to Kyle Steyn to finish the match by ushering his opposite man into touch. A hard-earned victory, and one that gets Glasgow off the mark for the 2019/20 campaign.

live commentary 7:35 PM Saturday 12 Oct 2019

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Kick-off 7:35 PM

Glasgow Warriors

Cardiff Blues

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