Glasgow v Cardiff: Rory Darge injury takes some shine off big Warriors win

Franco Smith's men find their mojo to run in eight tries

Jack Dempsey on the charge for Glasgow Warriors versus Cardiff. Image: Craig Watson -
Jack Dempsey on the charge for Glasgow Warriors versus Cardiff. Image: Craig Watson -

Glasgow Warriors 52

Cardiff 24

DAVID BARNES @ Scotstoun Stadium

A GREAT night for Glasgow Warriors, when they finally recovered some of their mojo following a hugely frustrating barren spell, was tempered significantly by the ankle dislocation suffered by their Scotland international flanker Rory Darge, who is now unlikely to be back in action before the end of the calendar year, meaning that he will miss the Autumn Test Series which kicks off in just five weeks’ time.

“I’m devastated for Darge,” said head coach Franco Smith. “He’s a top player. It was an ankle injury and he will [likely] be operated on in the morning.

“It was a dislocation of the ankle. It’s not a season-ending injury, but I don’t want to put an exact timeline on when he will be back.

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“Obviously, I’m very happy for the players. I think they worked hard and wanted to see a result. The fact they were still throwing the ball around in the 84th minute showed their eagerness to play,” added Smith, who also let it be known that he had been irked by suggestions after last week’s slump to Benetton that the team were lacking energy due to the intensity of his pre-season regime.

“We delved into what we could change this week, the players looked into themselves to see what more they can give, and compliments to them I think they reacted very well,” he added. “It’s a start, but there is a lot to add to this. We need to play with responsibility without the ball as well, but the way we reacted to the mistakes that we did make was heartwarming for me.

“If there was a line-break against us we worked really hard to stop them from scoring and not just accepting that we have made a mistake so now they can score. I think both sides of the ball we were good, but we want to be squeaky clean when we don’t have the ball, and I think we left some points out there tonight. There is still a long wait to go.”

Glasgow set out their stall early in this match, taking the game to Cardiff with purpose and ambition even if some raggedness in the strike zone meant they couldn’t make it count on the scoreboard. They then defended with similar conviction when the pendulum swung the other way, and it was as he competed for the ball on the deck on his own 22 that Darge left buckled during a clear-out.

That set-back did seem to know Warriors off their stride for a short period, and Cardiff raced in to the lead when Max Llewelyn brushed past Tom Gordon and George Horne during a midfield burst then recycled quickly for Jarrod Evans to send out a looping miss-pass which Josh Adams did well to gather off his bootstraps without breaking his stride on his way to the line.

It felt like a sliding-doors moment, and in the recent past we have too often seen Warriors retreat into their shells when confronted with such adversity, but not on this occasion. They pushed their way back upfield and found themselves with a man advantage after a sweeping attack featuring Cole Forbes and Sebastian Cancelliere created a dangerous platform which left Thomas Young feeling like he had no choice but to enter the ruck from the side in order to halt momentum.

Glasgow took full advantage of the disparity in number, scoring three unanswered tries during that 10 minutes.

The first was scored by Fraser Brown after the penalty conceded by Young was kicked to the corner. The second was scored by Forbes who did well to ride James Botham’s last-gasp challenge and get the ball down at the end of another sweeping attack which was launched from the home team’s 22, and featured telling contributions from Sione Tuipulotu and Cancelliere. The third was claimed by Matt Fagerson, burrowing over from close range following an excellent 50-22 by Tuipulotu.

With man-of-the-match Horne firing home all three tough conversions from just inside the right touchline, all of a sudden it was 21-7 with half an hour played, but no sooner had their opponents returned to full strength than Glasgow found themselves on the other side of the equation when stand-off Tom Jordon saw yellow  for a reckless challenge on Adams. He was lucky it wasn’t red because certain replay angles seemed to show shoulder to head contact.

Evans took a small step towards cutting down Warriors’ lead with a successful penalty, but that’s as close as Dragons got, with a coruscating break from Horne – not his first or last of the night – taking play all the way to the away team’s line, and the live-wire scrum-half nipped over the whitewash from close range five minutes later to claim the four-try bonus-point on the stroke of half-time.


Cardiff drew first blood at the start of the second period with a Kristian Dacey try, converted by Evans converting, but Warriors had the bit between their teeth and wasted little time re-establishing their dominance when Zander Fagerson muscled over to set up an easy conversion for Horne from right in front of the posts.

The visitors lost replacement centre Uilisi Haloholo to the sin-bin for a high tackle on Brown and the Warriors soon acted the best sort of revenge when he claimed his second try of the night, in identical fashion to his first, form a powerful line-out maul.

Warriors thought they had scored again when Jordan went over on the left, but referee Chris Busby was persuaded by the TMO that there had been a forward pass earlier in the move and the try was chalked off, which was a bold call given that the conversion had already been taken.

On another night it might have been more of a talking point, but by this stage Warriors were in complete control of the match, and they scored their seventh try just two minutes later when Jack Dempsey broke through the middle then sent Gordon home.

Liam Belcher scored a consolation try for Cardiff with 10 minutes to go, but Warrios had the last word with a Stafford McDowall charge-down try.


Teams – 

Glasgow Warriors: C Forbes; S Cancelliere, S Tuipulotu (D Miotti 65), S McDowall, K Steyn (A Price 49); T Jordan, G Horne; J Bhatti (O Kebble 59), F Brown (G Turner 59), Z Fagerson (L Sordino 59), S Cummings (S Manjezi 59), R Gray (J du Preez 59), M Fagerson, R Darge (T Gordon 13), J Dempsey.

Cardiff: M Morgan; A Summerhill, M Grady (U Halaholo 49), M Llewellyn, J Adams; J Evans (R Priestland 68), T Williams (L Williams 53); R Carré (B Thyer 68), K Dacey (L Belcher 49), D Lewis (K Assiratti 49), J Turnbull (L Timani 49), S Davies (M Screech 68), J Botham, T Young, J Ratti.

Referee: Chris Busby (Ireland)


Scorers – 

Glasgow Warriors: Tries: Brown 2, Forbes, M Fagerson, Horne, Z Fagerson, Gordon, McDowall; Cons: Horne 6.

Cardiff: Tries: Adams, Dacey, Belcher; Cons: Evans 2, Preistland; Pen: Evans.

Scoring sequence (Glasgow Warriors first): 0-5; 0-7; 5-7; 7-7; 12-7; 14-7; 19-7; 21-7; 21-10; 26-10; 28-10 (h-t) 28-15; 28-17; 33-17; 35-17; 40-17; 45-17; 47-17; 47-22; 47-24; 52-24.


Yellow cards – 

Glasgow Warriors: Jordan (33mins)

Cardiff: Young (21mins), Halaholo (51mins)

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About David Barnes 3964 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. Tuipulotu was tremendous with pace, aggressive running and invention – was almost like having a second 10 at times. And great to see wee George Horne playing back at his best – if I had been Smith I’d have been tempted to keep him at 9 and move Price to the wing when he emptied the bench. As others have said, just need to back this up.

  2. Why is it taking so long for comments to appear?!

    Delighted to see Horne backed by the coach and now shown what he can do with Pack which can hold it’s own.

    Jordan looked pretty good, much improved, i do wonder if he is more of a 12 however?

    • This is the George Horne we want to watch, leave Jordan at flyhalf to many times players that show promise in early stages in their careers get shunted to other positions unfulfilling there true potential.

  3. Don – R.Gray i agree he played like I’ve of seen for years, keep that up and he’ll maybe finally accept GTs invitation to join the squad.
    Really hope Dempsey decides to play for the country of his Grandad, he is a superb 8, his physicality gives front foot ball, priceless to the likes of Russell and Hogg

  4. I think Glasgow must have been sprayed with WD40 this week , because there was no sign of rust this week. That was a great performance, from the whole team and the best performance from Horne in the last couple of years and who knew he could goal kick as well.Impressive debut from J du Preez especially at the line out, what is it about South Africa that can produce so many such big guys, something in the water?. Bad news about Darge hope it’s not as bad as folk are saying.

  5. Glasgow were awesome last night. The new versions of Richie Gray and Tuipulotu are far better players than the previous models so well done for replacing them. Tuipulotu was the most eye catching but that’s the best I’ve seen Richie play for a very very long time. What a difference a week makes and more importantly what a difference playing at home makes. Glasgow are a completely different beast at Scotstoun and can beat anyone there. They actually have a fantastic pack and the quicker they realise that the better their away performances will be. I love seeing Scottish teams put sides to the sword, onto Edinburgh next.

    Rugby is a funny old game.

  6. Only saw the highlights with some great tries but sounds like Glasgow were back to their best which is quite an achievement after last week. Cardiff are not a bad side so to score 50 is a great effort. Lets hope this is the norm rather than last week.

  7. Good turnaround after the turgid performance from last week… Jordan lucky to only see yellow, but looked to settle really well considering only second pro game. Great to be there and see Scotstoun bouncing again – need to back it up but the fight and hunger was back typified by wee Georgie. Real shame about Darge, they seem to be talking about a return in ‘23 already.

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