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Page last updated at 21:30 GMT, Friday, 11 February 2011

Glasgow 15-26 Cardiff Blues

Glasgow Warriors (12) 15
Pens: Weir 5
Cardiff Blues (11) 26
Tries: James Pens: Sweeney 7

Glasgow's Johnnie Beattie is tackled by Blues' Ceri Sweeney and Ma'ama Molitika
Glasgow's Johnnie Beattie is tackled by Blues' Ceri Sweeney and Ma'ama Molitika

By Keir Murray

The boot of Ceri Sweeney moved Cardiff Blues up to third place in the Magners League after a hard-fought victory over Glasgow at wet and windy Firhill.

There was only one try in the match, Blues' Tom James seizing on an error to run fully 60 yards to cross the line.

Nineteen-year-old Duncan Weir kicked all of Warriors' points, with five successful kicks from six.

But his efforts were eclipsed by Sweeney, whose seven penalties punished the Scots for their errors.

The match was always likely to have lost some of its lustre with so many first-team regulars away on international duty with Scotland and Wales for Saturday's Six Nations tie at Murrayfield.

The Cardiff side made seven changes for this match, while the home side had made two more.

But where there may have been a diminution in quality, there was no lack of effort as 10th place Glasgow and Blues went at it in Glasgow's west end.

The sides exchanged early penalties, Sweeney cancelling out Weir's opener for Sean Lineen's Warriors.

An ill-timed tackle by Glasgow's Rob Harley resulted in the number six heading up the tunnel to be treated for a head gash, but he was soon back on the pitch to team up with Johnnie Beattie, the Scotland number eight still edging his way to full fitness and not yet ready to resume his international career.

James scored the first try of the night, in the 16th minute, an unstoppable run across the line after the Welsh side had seized on a handling error by Bernardo Stortoni and home captain Colin Gregor.

Blues' advantage remained at 8-3 when Sweeny pulled the conversion a yard or so wide of the posts.

Glasgow were enjoying slightly more possession than their visitors and Gregor made a valiant effort to atone for his part in Blues' try by picking up from the line-out and sprinting forward.

When the Scotland A cap was stopped after 30 yards, Glasgow were well positioned to maintain the momentum and though the move eventually petered out it gave the home support some encouragement.

Two Weir penalties before the half-hour mark had been reached put the Scots ahead, an advantage that lasted only seven minutes as Sweeney's penalty edged Blues ahead 11-9 after 35 minutes.

But the youngster cracked another long-range penalty before half-time was reached to make it 12-11 to Warriors at the interval.

The pattern of exchanging penalties continued at the start of the second half, Sweeney adding his third of the evening before Weir made it five out of five in the swirling wind.

Yet every time the Warriors got their noses ahead, Blues forced an error in the Glasgow ranks and before the 50th minute Sweeney slotted a simple penalty from 20 yards to make it 17-15 to the visitors.

Weir and Sweeney were having their own kicking competition and the Blues star began to edge ahead when he kicked a penalty to make it 20-15, then when Harley was sin-binned for a high challenge he really put the Scots in trouble with his sixth consecutive successful kick.

That put Blues 23-15 ahead and left Warriors needing two scores to win the match.

Weir made a vital tackle on Dan Fish as he sped towards the corner and in doing so kept his team in the match.

The same Warriors player missed a penalty for the first time in the evening, leaving the Welsh with a reasonably comfortable margin and that misjudgement spread to Sweeney when he pushed a penalty wide with a little over 10 minutes to go.

But in those final minutes Blues looked a good bet to register an away win, after doing that just once in all competitions in their last five attempts.

They were camped in Warriors' half and any foul by the hosts was bound to be punished by Sweeney's accuracy.

Indeed, when he booted his fifth penalty of the second half and his seventh of the evening the match was over as a contest and the men in pink held on for a hard-fought and deserved victory.

There was a second victory for the Welsh on Scottish soil on Friday evening. The Wales Under-20s trounced the Scots 33-3 in an ill-tempered match in Stirling, where each side had one player sent off.


Glasgow: Stortoni, O'Hare, Aramburu, Murchie, van der Merwe, Weir, Gregor, Grant, Thomson, Kalman, Muldowney, Ryder, Harley, Forrester, Beattie.
Replacements: Shaw for O'Hare (70), Pyrgos for Weir (68), Welsh for Grant (63), Gillies for Thomson (70), Tkachuk for Kalman (40), Fusaro for Forrester (77), Wilson for Beattie (65). Not Used: Horne.

Cardiff Blues: Fish, Mustoe, Evans, Hewitt, James, Sweeney, Slater, Filise, Thomas, Andrews, Griffiths, Tito, Pretorius, Molitika, M. Williams.
Replacements: Downes for Slater (66), G. Williams for Thomas (63), D. Jones for Griffiths (49), Rush for Molitika (49). Not Used: Hobbs, Trevett, L. Williams, Loxton.

Attendance: 1,917

Referee: Dudley Phillips (RFU).



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