Glasgow Warriors 29 - 15 Cardiff Blues
Peter Murchie bagged two tries as Glasgow Warriors kept their good run of form going with a 29-15 Guinness PRO12 victory over Cardiff Blues at Scotstoun.
The win was the Warriors’ fifth in a row in all competition and set the team up well for next week’s European Rugby Champions Cup home tie with Munster.
As well as Murchie, Man of the Match Tommy Seymour, centre Mark Bennett and back-row Josh Strauss impressed in what was a very efficient and hard-working team performance against a Blues side who had defeated them earlier in the campaign.
In front of a sold out and noisy 7,251 crowd, the Warriors got off to a very purposeful start.
Strauss went close in the sixth minute, but was tackled well. Number 8 Ryan Wilson went close seconds later and was indeed held up over the line, but the home side had their tails up.
And their early pressure showed in the 12th minute when Glasgow did open the scoring.
Once again a number of Warriors broke through the Blues’ defensive line and after some patient build-up, hooker Pat MacArthur went over for the try.
Finn Russell, the stand-off, converted as the light rain started to fall.
The Warriors continued on the front foot and the visitors struggled to get into the home half, but as the first quarter ended the score stayed the same.
In the 22nd minute the Wewlsh side produced some fine attacking play which took them within yards of the home try line.
Experienced international winger Alex Cuthbert got the ball around 12 yards out, but after some quick feet and looking like he may score their first try of the evening he knocked the ball on under some pressure.
For a spell after that some good scrummaging, led by front-row Gordon Reid, MacArthur and D’arcy Rae, got the hosts back in the ascendency, but they couldn't get their wide attacking game going.
The Warriors’ pack were really getting their drive going though and the Blues were struggling to cope.
Skipper Jonny Gray went very close from the second-row and then MacArthur nearly grabbed an unlikely second, but Cardiff defended well under pressure and held firm.
That was in the 31st minute and after a great scrummage by Reid, MacArthur, Rae and co they won a penalty.
It was in front of the posts and Russell added three more points to make it 10-0.
At that point the hosts were in control of things, but Cardiff managed to battle back just before the interval.
They had a bit of their own pressure before the Warriors won the ball back and looked set to clear before Russell put in chip kick from his own ‘22’.
The kick did not go quite as planned and after it was recycled the Cardiff winger Blaine Scully got his hands on the ball and finished well in the corner.
Stand-off Steve Shingler converted and it was 10-7 at the break.
The Welshmen took that confidence into the second half and after their forwards earned a penalty in the 43rd minute Shingler was again on the mark to kick a penalty.
That meant with 37 minutes to go the game was all square at 10-10.
The fact that they had given away a lead seemed to annoy the hosts and a great line-out in the 48th minute set-up a fine backs attack.
Scotland man Seymour burst through the centre and fed centre Alex Dunbar. He went close, but was well tackled before full-back Peter Murchie showed great awareness and strength to pick the ball up from the bottom of the ruck and go over for a try.
Russell converted and it was 17-10.
The Warriors then made a couple of changes in the front-row and well as Adam Ashe replacing Wilson in the back-row and they were flying.
Try number three came in the 55th minute when Seymour made another break off scrum-half Ali Price and caused problems in the Cardiff defence.
The Scotland winger was stopped short of the try line, but the ball was shipped left quickly and Birthday boy Murchie went in for his second try.
Russell converted and it was 24-10.
With 16 minutes to go the Warriors got their fourth try and the all-important bonus point.
This time it was replacement hooker James Malcolm who went over, showing good strength and getting a good hand from his pack mates to go over and make it 29-10.
Russell missed the conversion this time, but the home side knew that this was a job well done.
The game drifted somewhat to a conclusion from that point in time, a lot of hard work having been done by the hosts already.
With two minutes to go replacement back Rhun Williams grabbed a consolation try for Cardiff out wide, but the conversion was missed and it finished 29-15.
Glasgow Warriors move up to fourth in the Guinness PRO12, with two crucial European Rugby Champions Cup games up next against Munster and Leicester.