Gloucester’s renowned driving line out proved the difference at Kingsholm as Cardiff fell to defeat in their first friendly runout of pre-season.
It was indiscipline that proved costly in the West Country as the Cherry and Whites turned to one of the main weapons in their arsenal and powered over for four first-half tries through the set-piece.
That gave them a 28-0 half-time lead and they compounded Cardiff’s woes with a length of the pitch interception just after the break.
But Cardiff, who were facing a near full-strength Cherry and Whites, refused to go down without a fight.
They responded with tries from Kristian Dacey and Aled Summerhill before the home side extinguished any hope of a comeback with a second Jack Reeves try.
Harri Millard collected a Matthew Morgan kick to give his side a late consolation and the final word as preparations continue for competitive fixtures.
The Blue and Blacks are next in action on Friday, September 9, against Zebre Parma at the Arms Park with some of their international contingent set to be drip fed into the squad, before the season opener in two week’s time against Munster.
Cardiff returned for the 2022-23 season with plenty of motivation from the tail end of the previous season and with a lengthy training block under their belts.
They travelled to Kingsholm without their new signings and Wales summer tourists but were still able to select a match-day squad containing 13 internationals and a blend of youth and experience.
Gloucester who secured an impressive victory over Munster in Ireland last weekend were closer to a full strength squad as they fine-tuned for their season opener against Wasps next week and they powered their way into the lead after six minutes.
Having controlled all the territory in the opening exchanges, they earned a penalty, which was kicked to the corner. Cardiff initially held the driving line out at bay but it was an area of the Cherry and Whites’ game that bore plenty of fruit last season and they displayed the patience to convert.
Jack Singleton squirmed and burrowed over with Adam Hastings adding the extras.
Cardiff responded well and almost manufactured a try with a clever set play, which saw Kristian Dacey dart towards the try-line. He was held short and Cardiff continued to pile on the pressure but they were held out on two further occasions with Aled Summerhill tackled into the corner and a crucial penalty going against the visitors.
The Blue and Black continued to enjoy bright periods but they could not quite find the last pass or decisive moment to breach the hosts’ defence.
Then on 25 minutes another Gloucester penalty was kicked to the corner and the juggernaut driving line out did the damage before Ruan Ackermann powered over from close range.
Hastings was again on target and it was a sense of déjà vu as Welsh referee awarded Gloucester a penalty, it was kicked to the corner and the home pack rumbled over. This time Ben Morgan the beneficiary with Hastings converting both tries for a 21-point lead.
Sensing blood and capitalising on indiscipline, Gloucester attempted a fourth driving line out try and while they were held out, it came at a cost as James Botham was sent to the bin.
Back to the corner Gloucester went and it was more of the same as Morgan was propelled over for a second. Hastings maintained his 100 per cent strike rate and Young’s side entered the interval staring at a 28-point deficit.
That was made even worse within five minutes of the restart as a sustained period of pressure came to an abrupt halt as Jack Reeves intercepted Jarrod Evans’ pass and raced 80 metres.
Cardiff finally opened their account on 52 minutes with a driving line out of their own. Evans kicked to the corner, Seb Davies won middle ball and the maul bundled over with Dacey finishing.
The Blue and Blacks continued their resurgence and set up camp in the Cherry and White red zone for long periods in the second-half but they had to work for every inch.
However, their endeavour eventually paid off as Gloucester ran out of numbers and the ball was spread left to Summerhill, who scampered over in the corner. Evans was unable to add the extras from the touchline.
Reeves bagged a second try, again against the run of play in the closing stages but it was Cardiff who had the last word through Millard, with Priestland converting.