Cardiff v Glasgow: Warriors stunned by late home fightback

Danny Wilson bemoans lack of ruthlessness in his squad as they let slip a 13-point lead

Danny Wilson
Danny Wilson was left stunned after a late Cardiff fightback robbed Glasgow of the win. Image: © Craig Watson.

Cardiff 32

Glasgow Warriors 28

GLASGOW seemed on course not only to win this match, but to win it in style at one point in the second half. Thirteen points ahead with the bonus point in the bag, they had played some marvellous stuff in the first half, then added a potentially decisive interception try from Sebastian Cancelliere to claim the first points of the second 40.

But then – and not for the first time this season – the Warriors lost something. Focus, their attacking edge, the understanding that even when you have a good lead you have to stay on top of your opponents – or perhaps all of the above.

The result was a spirited late fightback by Cardiff which denied Danny Wilson‘s side three of the match points they seemed sure to take home from the Arms Park. Granted, two points are better than nothing in what is an increasingly tight race for the four home quarter-final places at the top of the URC, but Wilson knows there is a potentially fatal flaw in his team’s make-up that must be eliminated if they are going to do more than merely make up the numbers in the play-offs.

Sharks v Edinburgh: Blair Kinghorn scores twice in impressive away win

Girls Youth Cup/Shield Finals: Edinburgh Harlequins hoping for fourth time lucky against Stirling County

Boys Youth Cup/Shield Finals: Boroughmuir face West of Scotland in U18 Cup Final

“First of all, Cardiff at home have been a good side this year, so we knew this was going to be a big challenge,” the head coach said. “But when you’re comfortably in the lead after 55 minutes, you should see the game out. 

“And that’s us away from home at the moment. I thought for 50 minutes we played some of the best away rugby that we’ve played this season, then for 30 minutes we played some of the worst. And that’s the mental toughness, the ruthlessness, that we need to develop when we go away from home.

“We can’t be giving up that game as we did. I’m not taking anything away from Cardiff, because I thought they played well in that 30 minutes. But we gave them so many opportunities with errors and penalties, which is a little bit of a theme when we’re away from home if we’re brutally honest. 

“We need to eradicate that theme if we really want to challenge for silverware. We’ve got to be winning more games on the road to cement our home record, which has been outstanding this season.”

Cardiff began with real attacking intent and took a fourth-minute lead through ex-Edinburgh winger Jason Harries. It was all too easy for the big man to force his way over in the corner after his pack had made good ground from a lineout. Jarrod Evans missed the conversion attempt, but soon added a penalty to put his team 8-0 up.

Warriors needed to start imposing themselves on the game, and they did so after quarter of an hour through Cancelliere’s first try for the team. Kyle Steyn made a lot of ground from deep inside his own half after a stolen lineout, then passed to the winger from Argentina, who was too fast for the defence. Ross Thompson converted to leave his team just 8-7 behind.

Steyn and Sam Johnson in particular attacked confidently every time they got the ball, and it was Johnson who put his team in front when he took advantage of a couple of half-hearted tackles to touch down close to the posts. Thompson added the two points again.

Cardiff had let their heads go down after their encouraging start, and they fell further behind after half an hour. Thompson sent a penalty to touch five metres out, and from the line-out the whole Warriors pack drove over, with hooker Fraser Brown claiming the score and Thompson once more converting.

If Glasgow thought that try had put them in charge of the game, they had to think again five minutes later. An attack by the home team looked like it was going nowhere, but when the ball went loose in a tackle on Harries, winger Theo Cabango pounced on it and hared over the line. Evans converted. 

The Warriors twice just failed to score the bonus-point try in the last minute of the half. First James Botham got back to touch down after Johnson had hacked through,and then a lineout five metres from the Cardiff line was not straight.


But they wasted little time in claiming that fourth try once play restarted, as Cancelliere intercepted a pass well inside his own half and raced 60 metres to score. Thompson converted again.

That looked like being close to game over, but then Cancelliere was harshly sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on as he attempted another interception in almost exactly the same position. Within minutes, Uilisi Halaholo found the space he needed to slice through the Glasgow defence and touch down, and Evans’s conversion made it a six-point game again.

Then, inside the last 15 minutes, the visitors’ lead disappeared. Heavy pressure from the forwards took Cardiff right up to the line, then the ball went back to Cabango, who raced over for his own side’s bonus try. Evans put Cardiff back in front with the conversion, then added a penalty two minutes from time. 


Teams  –

Cardiff: H Amos; J Harries, U Halaholo (M Morgan 72), B Thomas (G Smith 60), T Cabango; J Evans, L Williams; R Carré (C Domachowski 51), K Myhill (K Dacey 51), D Arhip (D Lewis 51), J Turnbull (captain), M Screech, J Botham, J Navidi (E Jenkins 53), J Ratti.

Glasgow Warriors: J McKay, S Cancelliere, K Steyn, S Johnson, C Forbes; R Thompson (D Weir 58), A Price (J Dobie 72); J Bhatti (O Kebble 50), F Brown (J Matthews 68), Z Fagerson (M Walker 71), S Cummings, R Gray, R Wilson (captain, K McDonald 55), R Darge, J Dempsey. 

Referee: A Jacobs (South Africa).


Scorers  –

Cardiff: Tries: Harries, Cabango 2, Halaholo. Cons: Evans 3. Pens: Evans 2.

Glasgow: Tries: Cancelliere 2, Johnson, Brown. Cons: Thompson 4.

Scoring sequence (Cardiff first): 5-0; 8-0; 8-5; 8-7; 8-12; 8-14; 8-19; 8-21; 13-21; 15-21 (h-t) 15-26; 15-28; 20-28; 22-28; 27-28l 29-28; 32-28.


Yellow card  –

Glasgow: Cancelliere (52 mins).


THE OFFSIDE LINE'S coverage of Glasgow Warriors is powered by MCCREA FINANCIAL SERVICES.

McCrea Financial Services sponsor Glasgow Warriors and provide a wide range of financial advisory services including mortgage, pension and retirement planning advice. See to contact them for more information.
About Stuart Bathgate 1131 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.


  1. I thought part of the issue was that we managed to get on the wrong side of the ref so when we got a couple of dodgy calls against us we went back into our shell instead of going up a notch. Cardiff got a bit of confidence and we let them play. When Ryan Wilson goes off we need more leadership and the bite he gives us up front. And if Ross Thompson needs to go off I don’t care who you bring on as long as it’s not Weir. He’s supposed to bring on his experience to see the game out and immediately kicks straight out at the kick off and not for the first time.

  2. I didn’t see the match, but, from the report above, the Glasgow collapse seems to coincide with the substitutions. Is that fair and is it a recurring problem? As two of the subs were Kebble and Weir, my own bias would lead me to conclude it is, but that’s just me.

    • More a general malaise MacBog, the yellow card, the subs, the mood sucking Weir out on the full kick, Ryan Wilsons leadership gone……. Thompson, Steyn, Johnston looked very dangerous then………………

  3. As Yogi Berra said, “It’s deja vu all over again”! This is the second time in only a few weeks that Glalsgos has gone to Wales, played classic rugby for the first fifty minutes then let the other team back into the game. There’s something wrong that a pro-team cannot control a game that they are so far ahead in.

  4. Not again Glasgow , it’s an 80 minute game. As good a first half as they have played this year then implosion. I do not seem to remember them being in the Cardiff 22 for the last 25 minutes. Is it fitness , is it laziness, is it arrogance along the lines of this is too easy. They have done it all season even in the European cup I have no idea what’s going wrong but they had better fix it soon as we head to the business end of the season.

  5. Benneton v Glasgow,Wales v Scotland, Wales v Scotland u20, and last night, the same old story. There must be something in the Scottish genes that allow opponents to come back from a seemingly impossible position and end up looking the best team by a mile when the final whistle blows.

  6. A wee setback at the start but then 30mins of tremendous rugby, Johnson, Steyn, Thompson all very impressive as Glasgow threatened to put 40 points on Cardiff, absolutely dominating the line out……….then a collapse (must be a mental thing) Matthews missing his jumpers and a hideous out on the full by Duncan Weir just encouraged a poor home team.
    Not sure why Thompson went off (or Brown for that matter) if its not broke don’t fix it.

  7. Glasgow are a real mixed bag – some great rugby and some rubbish. They will need more consistency if they are to be threat. They loaded the team knowing they needed a win here to build some points before going to South Africa. At this rate they can easily miss out on a top 4. I couldn’t believe the last 30 minutes – it was liking watching Scotland with endless penalties and mistakes. They play some brilliant rugby in the first 50 minutes but then how on earth they can be so bad in the last 30. Looked like they were allowing the cardiff backs too much space with their drift defence before anyone engaged in a tackle.

  8. Not seen the stats, but from memory Glasgow’s penalty count went through the roof, line outs went squint, fell to bits really….. Lack of real leadership on pitch (and off) very concerning especially as it happened when in the lead and the opposition stepping up…. Not dissimilar to the National team either, as though striving to be good and not the best.

    Needs sorted or change…. Perhaps not mutually exclusive!

    • 8 pens all game. Hardly excessive, I think this was actually an issue in a different sort of way. Too many pens in the past so fewer risks taken, so fewer pens. Cedes momentum.

  9. Sorry Mr.Wilsom but Warriors turning up for 50 minutes then hanging on for the last 30 minutes is a constant theme BOTH home and away this season. We’ve got away with this at home mostly but are found out on travels.
    The majority of second 40 minutes appear to be almost backs against the wall defence with little attack and penalty after penalty.
    I’ve followed Warriors since Hughenden days and sadly I don’t see the current coaching team and squad winning (or even be in the running for) silverware. I do hope I’m wrong.

  10. Forgive me I only read the headline and despondency set in, there must be something wrong with the ‘attitude’ ‘mind set’ call it what you like.

    It’s difficult to support Edinburgh, Glasgow or the National side at times.

    • Surely it’s not difficult to support you team? However, I stopped watching at half time to get the tea on, as Glasgow were basically, attacking at will against a lack lustre defence and looked like they should be heading for 50+ points. The tea and wine was nice, but this reversal was not expected, did they think the job was done?

      • A bit late in responding, however saying ‘it’s difficult to support’ was a comment in the context of ‘exasperation’ at the two steps forward and one back that seems to blight all the teams I mentioned AND support.
        I watched the game on S4C and having not read the article had forgotten the headline and I couldn’t believe that Glasgow lost having looked the class side for a good chunk of the game. Something wrong somewhere if you get a bonus point try and are playing well … then you loose!!

  11. Danny Wilson was offloaded by the SRU to the West . His excuses this time after more than 2 years should make interesting reading . How long is his contract ?Master of excuses?

    • Scotland Assistant coach gets “offloaded” to become a head coach?
      I suppose Townsend, Blair and McFarland have all been offloaded then.
      The appoint the best available and affordable candidate. every time. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. That’s life I’m afraid


Comments are closed.