Glasgow maintain play-off charge
March 30, 2012
Glasgow's Al Kellock leads his side's celebrations
© PA Photos
Glasgow maintained their charge for the play-off places in the RaboDirect Pro12 with a scintillating 31-3 home victory over a Cardiff Blues side at Firhill Arena.
A brace from Ryan Wilson and further tries from Chris Fusaro and Colin Shaw also secured a vital bonus point, with the rest of the hosts' points coming from the respective right boots of Duncan Weir and Ruaridh Jackson. In reply, a Cardiff side littered with international stars could only muster one Leigh Halfpenny penalty, as the Warriors continued their impressive home form in emphatic style.
The hosts suffered an early blow when Graeme Morrison was forced to leave the field as early as the third minute, the Scotland international centre crumbling awkwardly under a forceful tackle in midfield. Morrison's central partner Alex Dunbar looked lively in the opening exchanges with a succession of half breaks. A miss-pass from Weir appeared to have finally put the young flyer clean through, only for referee George Clancy to call a halt to proceedings for a forward ball.
Moments later, Glasgow carved another golden opportunity, shredding through the visiting rear guard with relative ease, only for Weir's final pass to once again fail to make the grade. The writing was on the wall, though, and the Warriors disrupted the resultant scrum to regain possession. The ball was recycled quickly, and it was left to Wilson to crash over from close range to notch his first try for the club, Weir adding the conversion.
Weir edged the home side further in front just before the half-hour mark, slotting a penalty effort after the Cardiff defence were caught offside at the breakdown. Halfpenny had a late first half opportunity to get his side on the scoreboard, but his penalty attempt drifted wide of the upright. Weir also missed a further penalty chance, drilling his effort to the left of the posts.
The second installment began similarly to the first, a deluge of home pressure keeping the Blues penned into their own 22. A score was inevitable, and having been stopped on line on two consecutive occasions, it was Wilson who once again provided the killer touch, scything through a desperate tackle to dot down. Weir once again slotted the conversion.
With half an hour remaining, Halfpenny registered his side's first points, the Glasgow front row penalised in the scrum handing the fullback a straightforward three-point opportunity. Glasgow were given a chance to strike back almost immediately, however Weir failed to land his long-range penalty.
The hosts were not to be deterred, though, and the result was put beyond doubt when Dunbar's break and neat offload sent Chris Fusaro in under the posts, reward for yet another lengthy spell deep in Cardiff territory.
The game was marred late on by serious injuries to Wilson and his replacement John Barclay, who appeared to sustain a severe neck injury, leaving the field on a stretcher under close medical supervision. Despite the distraction of a prolonged injury break, the hosts were able to regroup and urged on by inspirational captain Al Kellock, surged forward in search of a bonus point try.
It looked as though they may have left it too late, but as the clock ticked down, Dunbar made another searing run to slice through the Cardiff defensive line. His pass found Chris Cusiter, who in turn offloaded to Colin Shaw, who cantered over to grab the vital try, which may prove decisive in the race to the play-offs. Jackson wrapped up proceedings by slotting the conversion.
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