Guinness PRO14: Cardiff Blues 19-20 Glasgow Warriors

16.09.17 - Cardiff Blues v Glasgow Warriors, Guinness Pro14 - Finn Russell - Glasgow Warriors fly half takes on Lloyd Williams of Cardiff Blues Image: David Gibson -

OWAIN HARRIES @ Cardiff Arms Park

FINN RUSSELL’S kicking kept Glasgow Warriors’ winning record in the Pro14 intact with the stand-off making good on all four of his attempts at goal. It wasn’t such a happy experience for opposite number Steven Shingler, who missed a penalty from 40 yards out and almost directly in front of the posts just before the end, which would have secured a first victory of the campaign for the Welshmen had it gone over.

“It was an easy kick in practice but when it comes to the game they are the hardest ones. I wouldn’t have liked to have been in that position, especially with the weather, whish wasn’t the easiest,” said the sympathetic Russell afterwards.

“There was a lot of errors out there and I don’t think the weather helped, but it was good for us to grind out the win,” the Scottish stand-off added.

“It was a frustrating game because we made a lot of mistakes and didn’t manage to build up pressure, and a lot of the action was in the middle of the field, but we’ll take the win. They forced us to make a lot of errors and put us under pressure in the scrum, we tried to play at tempo but in the weather it maybe wasn’t the ideal situation to do that.”

Dry conditions in the first half gave the perfect opportunity for running rugby and the Warriors showed attacking intent early on, opting to go for touch instead of a long but kickable three points from a penalty.  However, the gamble didn’t pay off as the Warriors lost the ball in the resulting play and a counter attack by Blues winger Tom James brought the game’s first try, which was converted by Shingler.

With less than a minute gone from the restart, the Blues further extended their lead, earning a penalty from a show of strength in the scrum.  Shingler once again landed the points.

With the atmosphere picking up in the Welsh capital, the Warriors gained an attacking opportunity with a grubber kick from Seymour forcing Welsh international Alex Cuthbert to carry the ball into touch.  A clean take at the resulting line-out and pressure on the five-metre line led to a Warriors penalty and their first points of the night from the boot of Russell after fifteen minutes.

Glasgow eventually managed some stable possession and worked through a series of attractive phases, but struggled to make the breakthrough and they ended up being pushed backwards by some aggressive Blues defence.  Under pressure, the Warriors conceded a ruck penalty which Shingler’s boot increased the margin to ten yet again.

Inspiration for the visiting team eventually came from flanker Callum Gibbins on the half hour mark, with his break creating a three-against-two overlap.  The ball was eventually fed through to captain Henry Pyrgos for a simple finish, and Russell’s conversion meant it was game on at 13-10, which is how it stayed until half-time.

The intensity continued in the second half with thirteen points being scored in the first five minutes.  The Blues struck first when the Warriors conceded a sloppy penalty in the opening seconds for pulling at a ruck, giving Shingler a further three points.  However, they woke up at the estart, winning the ball back and making a breakthrough on the left wing via Lee Jones, with Russell’s conversion edging them into the lead for the first time in the match.

That 16-17 advantage was soon cancelled out when a Warriors offside at the edge of their 22 gave Shingler an easy three points from in front of the posts.

As the rain started to come in the game started to become disjointed, with the intensity of the contest taking its toll on several players, and a raft of changes ensued around the hour mark.

As the game entered its final quarter, the Warriors kept possession effectively through passing rugby but they struggled to break into the Blues’ twenty-two, until the pressure eventually paid off with a scrum penalty which Russell sent home to edge his side into 19-20 lead.

The Blues dominated possession during the last fifteen minutes but couldn’t find a threatening attacking position.  The Warriors rode their luck with three minutes to go when they were penalised at the scrum in front of their posts only for Shingler’s previously perfect goal-kicking record to nose dive at the most crucial moment.

Teams –

Cardiff Blues:  R Williams; A Cuthbert, R Lee-Lo, W Halaholo, T James; S Shingler, L Williams; R Gill; M Rees, K Assiratti, S Davies, D Welch, J Turnbull, J Navidi, N Williams. Substitutes used: K Myhill, B Thyer, D Lewis, G Earle, M Cook, T Williams, J Evans, M Morgan.

Glasgow Warriors: R Jackson; T Seymour, N Grigg, A Dunbar, L Jones; F Russell, H Pyrgos; J Bhatti, G Turner, Z Fagerson, T Swinson, S Cummings, M Fagerson, C Gibbins, A Ashe. Substitutes used: P MacArthur, A Allan, D Rae, B Alainu’uese, C Fusaro, G Horne, P Horne, N Matawalu.

Scorers –

Blues: Try: James; Con: Shingler; Pens: Singler 4.

Warriors: Pyrgos, Jones; Cons: Russell 2; Pens: Russell 2.

Scoring sequence (Blues first): 5-0; 7-0; 10-0; 10-3; 13-3; 13-8; 13-10 (h-t) 16-10; 16-15; 16-17; 19-17; 19-20.

Referee: F Murphy (Ireland)

About David Barnes 3956 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he 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.