Glasgow Warriors 17 - 13 Cardiff Rugby
HT 0-13
Fri 22 March 19:35 Scotstoun Stadium Ref: Frank Murphy United Rugby Championship

Glasgow 17-13 Cardiff

Fri 22 Mar 2024 19:00 Glasgow 17-13 Cardiff

A fine first-half was not enough in Scotland as Glasgow Warriors battled back to a slender 17-13 victory in the BKT United Rugby Championship.

The boot of Tinus de Beer and a stunning team try finished by Ben Thomas had put the Blue and Blacks (in pink) into a commanding 0-13 lead at Scotstoun.

With the wind against them it was always going to be a big challenge after the break and Glasgow quickly responded.

Thomas could, and perhaps should, have been awarded a second try shortly after but the home side survived and edged into the lead before seeing the game out after Ellis Bevan's kick through in additional time bounced out of play.

Cardiff were boosted by the return of four Wales internationals from the Six Nations, three in the starting line-up in Teddy Williams, Mackenzie Martin and Mason Grady but had not won in Glasgow since a European triumph in 2013.

Glasgow record points-scorer Duncan Weir got the encounter underway but it was Tinus de Beer who opening the scoring with a penalty after just four minutes. However, Glasgow won a penalty virtually straight from the restart and knocked the ball into the corner.

The hosts won two more penalties, kicking to the corner on each occasion, before Cardiff forced a turnover penalty on their own try-line.

Cardiff spent much of the opening quarter in the Glasgow half, defending fiercely and assisted from a strong wind at a bitterly cold Scotstoun.

When they had the ball they threatened with one impressive half break from Max Clark releasing Rhys Carre with an offload from the deck. The prop bundled forward before releasing Ellis Bevan but the scrum-half could not beat Josh McKay.

Play continued but the Blue and Blacks were spun bundled into touch as the Scots survived with their try-line intact.

With the weather continuing to deteriorate, de Beer doubled Cardiff’s advantage but again the restart was lost.

However, Cardiff almost pounced with a sucker-punch try when Clark pounced on a loose ball. He kicked through long and Thomas Young led the chase before he and two Glasgow defenders were caught by a runaway Mason Grady.

The wing demonstrated his devastating pace to race past all three but his attempted grubber went into touch as he bundled between the two Scottish defenders. Will Davies-King and Rhys Carré both carried hard but the latter crossed with a boot in touch.

Moments later following another powerful Carré close-range carry Liam Belcher looked to have burrowed over but he was held up and Glasgow cleared.

It appeared as though the opportunity and momentum had been lost but the Blue and Blacks soon struck for a stunning try, which defied the conditions.

Young hit a short Clark pass on a hard inside line and offloaded to Ellis Bevan on his inside. The scrum-half did remarkably well to pluck the ball from behind him and found de Beer in support.

De Beer then showed great awareness and sleight of hand to loop a netball-style pass over the tp to Ben Thomas. The fly-half then added the extras to make it 13-0 after just over half an hour.

Glasgow rallied as half-time approached but Cardiff’s defence remained resolute and Ben Donnell pounced for an important turnover, which forced a penalty.

The hosts had one final chance to break their duck, as Clark limped off, but again, Cardiff forced a breakdown penalty and de Beer dinked the ball into touch for a 13-point half time lead.

It took Glasgow just four minutes of the restart to claim their first try after Jack Dempsey burst off the back of a dominant scrum. He offloaded and moments later a galloping Max Williamson cantered over for his try for the club.

Weir converted and with the strong wind pulling the ball back it was now Glasgow having trouble with restarts. The ball bobbled uncontrollably under Ben Thomas snatched it and looked to clam an unlikely try.

Referee Frank Murphy adjudged the ball was held up without requiring television replays and the score remained 7-13.

Five minutes later Glasgow claimed a second try with Murphy spotting Lucio Sordoni ground the ball through a pile of bodies. Weir was again on target to give his side a slender 14-13 lead.

De Beer had the opportunity to nudge Cardiff back in front on 59 minutes but his penalty attempt frustratingly ricocheted off the right upright.

Weir however, made no mistake on 68 minutes to give his side a little more breathing space and it looked like the Warriors landed a killer blow with 70 minutes when their captain Kyle Steyn finished a fine more to race over.

However the TMO intervened and highlighted a clear forward pass from Weir to the left wing in the build-up. It gave Cardiff a reprieve and the chance to snatch a win or at the very least hang on for a losing bonus-point.

Cardiff defended valiantly in the final few minutes and were able to turn the ball over with moments remaining, however Bevan's attempted kick through after the horn sounded brought play to an end and gave Cardiff yet another losing bonus point in a season of near misses.