Heavy Defeat For Glasgow In Cardiff

Glasgow's Heineken Cup challenge was all but wiped out at Cardiff Arms Park this afternoon. Halfway through the league stage of the competition Glasgow have only one point - from the draw in the opening game against Montferrand - and it is difficult to see how that can be turned into qualification for the quarter-finals, even with victories in their three remaining games.The first of those will the return match against Cardiff at Hughenden a week tomorrow. In the intervening time - what will inevitably seem like a short week - Glasgow have climb the psychological mountain in redressing a balance heavily weighted in Cardiff's favour.The try count of 6-2 this afternoon was no less than Cardiff deserved. Two recruits from Rugby League, Iestyn Harris and Anthony Sullivan, did the damage on Glasgow. Each scored a treble of tries, and Harris, making his first start for Cardiff, added five conversions and two penalty goals for a match haul of 31 points.Glenn Metcalfe scored Glasgow's only try, and Tommy Hayes converted. That, however, did no more than cut Cardiff's lead to 34-7 midway in the second half, and the home team still had more to come in the last seven minutes.It was a thoroughly disappointing afternoon for Glasgow, especially in respect of the flow of the game. Ironically, Glasgow spent more time in the Cardiff 22 than in their own.In addition, the scrummage mainly held firm. Indeed, it tightened up when Steve Griffiths joined the pack as a replacement for the last half-hour, his first appearance after more than two months" injury absence, and the lineout worked well at most times, though two vital throws were lost within tantalising range of the opposition goal-line.Gordon Bulloch and Jon Petrie tried to show the way in the loose with dunting thrusts, and Graeme Beveridge was ever busy at scrum half. But the overall pattern of the Glasgow game was that too often players were isolated, as if trying to do too much on their own."We were trying to force the game when we didn't need to," Richie Dixon, Glasgow's head coach, commented in the aftermath of the defeat. "We didn't reward our own good work by punishing the opposition. Instead, we punished ourselves."He was also critical of weaknesses in the Glasgow defence. "I felt a lot of points were fairly soft tries," he remarked. "It was poor defence. Yet up to now our defence has been good."Even at breakfast-time this morning it looked as though it was not going to be Glasgow's day. Andy Nicol had gone down with a stomach upset overnight, and he had to drop out of the team. Beveridge resumed the scrum-half role, and Gordon Bulloch took over as captain.Harris struck his first blow with a penalty goal after only five minutes, and twice more in the first half the stand-off clearly made his mark with ball in hand. A long pass, which was to become his trademark, created the overlap for Sullivan's first try, and the stand-off then cruised through for a try from a scrummage in the visitors" 22. Harris converted both tries, and after 22 minutes Cardiff led 17-0.In that same time Glasgow had chances. Instead of taking them, Glasgow put pressure on themselves. Hayes missed a penalty in front of the posts from within the 22, he kicked directly into touch from the restart after Sullivan's try, a clearance by the stand-off from within his goal area was charged down, and the first genuine chance Glasgow had of a try was lost when what should have been the scoring pass did not go to Alan Bulloch's hands.Hayes was not far away from goal with a drop kick from close to halfway just before the interval, when Cardiff still held that 17-point lead. But two tries in the space of three minutes killed off Glasgow 15 minutes into the second half. Harris again ghosted past tackles for his second try, and Sullivan intercepted Andy Henderson's pass to run in from halfway.Cardiff lost Greg Kacala to the sin-bin midway in the second half, and it was only then that Glasgow had their one try, when, typically, Gordon Bulloch peeled rounded the back of a close-range lineout to induce the ruck from which Metcalfe scored. Hayes converted, but another Harris penalty goal reduced Glasgow's benefit of Kacala's absence.Roland Reid was only inches away from a try from Beveridge's chipped kick, and Cardiff's scoring duo went on to emphasise just how much it was not Glasgow's day. A flat cross kick by Harris gave Sullivan his third try. Harris missed that conversion, but he then scored his own third by sliding through between the posts. His conversion was the last kick of the match.Cardiff - Rhys Williams; Andrew Henry, Jamie Robinson, Pieter Muller, Anthony Sullivan; Iestyn Harris, Rob Howley; Spencer John, Jonathan Humphreys, David Young (captain), Craig Quinnell, John Tait, Semi Sititi, Rob Appleyard, Emyr Lewis. Replacements - Greg Kacala for Tait (half-time), Peter Rogers for John (57), Francois Mounier for Appleyard (73), Greg Woods for Humphreys (73), Matt Allen for Muller (75), Nick Robinson for Williams (75).Scorers - Tries, Harris (3), Sullivan (3); conversions, Harris (5); penalty goals, Harris (3).Glasgow - Glenn Metcalfe; Alan Bulloch, Andy Henderson, Jon Stuart, Roland Reid; Tommy Hayes, Graeme Beveridge; David Hilton, Gordon Bulloch (captain), Gordon McIlwham, Nathan Ross, Andy Hall, Jason White, Gareth Flockhart, Jon Petrie. Replacements - Steve Griffiths for Ross (34 minutes to half-time), Griffiths for Hall (53).Scorers - Try, Metcalfe; conversion, Hayes.Referee - Chris White (England).Glasgow's Heineken Cup challenge was all but wiped out at Cardiff Arms Park this afternoon. Halfway through the league stage of the competition Glasgow have only one point - from the draw in the opening game against Montferrand - and it is difficult to see how that can be turned into qualification for the quarter-finals, even with victories in their three remaining games.The first of those will the return match against Cardiff at Hughenden a week tomorrow. In the intervening time - what will inevitably seem like a short week - Glasgow have climb the psychological mountain in redressing a balance heavily weighted in Cardiff's favour.The try count of 6-2 this afternoon was no less than Cardiff deserved. Two recruits from Rugby League, Iestyn Harris and Anthony Sullivan, did the damage on Glasgow. Each scored a treble of tries, and Harris, making his first start for Cardiff, added five conversions and two penalty goals for a match haul of 31 points.Glenn Metcalfe scored Glasgow's only try, and Tommy Hayes converted. That, however, did no more than cut Cardiff's lead to 34-7 midway in the second half, and the home team still had more to come in the last seven minutes.It was a thoroughly disappointing afternoon for Glasgow, especially in respect of the flow of the game. Ironically, Glasgow spent more time in the Cardiff 22 than in their own.In addition, the scrummage mainly held firm. Indeed, it tightened up when Steve Griffiths joined the pack as a replacement for the last half-hour, his first appearance after more than two months" injury absence, and the lineout worked well at most times, though two vital throws were lost within tantalising range of the opposition goal-line.Gordon Bulloch and Jon Petrie tried to show the way in the loose with dunting thrusts, and Graeme Beveridge was ever busy at scrum half. But the overall pattern of the Glasgow game was that too often players were isolated, as if trying to do too much on their own."We were trying to force the game when we didn't need to," Richie Dixon, Glasgow's head coach, commented in the aftermath of the defeat. "We didn't reward our own good work by punishing the opposition. Instead, we punished ourselves."He was also critical of weaknesses in the Glasgow defence. "I felt a lot of points were fairly soft tries," he remarked. "It was poor defence. Yet up to now our defence has been good."Even at breakfast-time this morning it looked as though it was not going to be Glasgow's day. Andy Nicol had gone down with a stomach upset overnight, and he had to drop out of the team. Beveridge resumed the scrum-half role, and Gordon Bulloch took over as captain.Harris struck his first blow with a penalty goal after only five minutes, and twice more in the first half the stand-off clearly made his mark with ball in hand. A long pass, which was to become his trademark, created the overlap for Sullivan's first try, and the stand-off then cruised through for a try from a scrummage in the visitors" 22. Harris converted both tries, and after 22 minutes Cardiff led 17-0.In that same time Glasgow had chances. Instead of taking them, Glasgow put pressure on themselves. Hayes missed a penalty in front of the posts from within the 22, he kicked directly into touch from the restart after Sullivan's try, a clearance by the stand-off from within his goal area was charged down, and the first genuine chance Glasgow had of a try was lost when what should have been the scoring pass did not go to Alan Bulloch's hands.Hayes was not far away from goal with a drop kick from close to halfway just before the interval, when Cardiff still held that 17-point lead. But two tries in the space of three minutes killed off Glasgow 15 minutes into the second half. Harris again ghosted past tackles for his second try, and Sullivan intercepted Andy Henderson's pass to run in from halfway.Cardiff lost Greg Kacala to the sin-bin midway in the second half, and it was only then that Glasgow had their one try, when, typically, Gordon Bulloch peeled rounded the back of a close-range lineout to induce the ruck from which Metcalfe scored. Hayes converted, but another Harris penalty goal reduced Glasgow's benefit of Kacala's absence.Roland Reid was only inches away from a try from Beveridge's chipped kick, and Cardiff's scoring duo went on to emphasise just how much it was not Glasgow's day. A flat cross kick by Harris gave Sullivan his third try. Harris missed that conversion, but he then scored his own third by sliding through between the posts. His conversion was the last kick of the match.Cardiff - Rhys Williams; Andrew Henry, Jamie Robinson, Pieter Muller, Anthony Sullivan; Iestyn Harris, Rob Howley; Spencer John, Jonathan Humphreys, David Young (captain), Craig Quinnell, John Tait, Semi Sititi, Rob Appleyard, Emyr Lewis. Replacements - Greg Kacala for Tait (half-time), Peter Rogers for John (57), Francois Mounier for Appleyard (73), Greg Woods for Humphreys (73), Matt Allen for Muller (75), Nick Robinson for Williams (75).Scorers - Tries, Harris (3), Sullivan (3); conversions, Harris (5); penalty goals, Harris (3).Glasgow - Glenn Metcalfe; Alan Bulloch, Andy Henderson, Jon Stuart, Roland Reid; Tommy Hayes, Graeme Beveridge; David Hilton, Gordon Bulloch (captain), Gordon McIlwham, Nathan Ross, Andy Hall, Jason White, Gareth Flockhart, Jon Petrie. Replacements - Steve Griffiths for Ross (34 minutes to half-time), Griffiths for Hall (53).Scorers - Try, Metcalfe; conversion, Hayes.Referee - Chris White (England).