Glasgow 33-24 Cardiff Blues: Warriors stay in contention for Champions Cup play-offs
Last Updated: 13/01/19 6:24pm
Glasgow kept themselves in with a chance of claiming top spot in Heineken Champions Cup Pool Three with a 33-24 victory over Cardiff Blues.
The bonus point kept Glasgow four behind leaders Saracens ahead of their trip to London next weekend, but they were made to work all the way at Scotstoun before George Horne crossed in the 78th minute.
Warriors' 19-point tally is the best of all five second-placed teams with one game left - with only the three best runners-up qualifying.
Glasgow had taken a 14-0 lead with two tries in six minutes from Grant Stewart and Scott Cummings around the half-hour mark, but it was Brandon Thomson's impressive kicking in difficult conditions that proved the difference, with the teams on four tries apiece before Horne's score.
Chris Fusaro and Oli Kebble also crossed for Glasgow, while Owen Lane scored two tries and Harri Millard and Josh Navidi touched down for the Blues.
The Blues were already eliminated and made 12 changes, including a first appearance for winger Tom James since late 2017, when the Wales international took an extended break because of depression.
The wind was strong enough to leave the posts constantly shaking, and Stuart Hogg in particular found it difficult to use the conditions to Glasgow's advantage in the first half as two kicks went behind the visitors' dead-ball line.
Glasgow were disrupted by losing two-thirds of their back row to injury inside 10 minutes as Matt Fagerson (shoulder) and Callum Gibbins (knee) were replaced by Tim Swinson and Fusaro.
Warriors struggled to get into any rhythm and it took them 27 minutes to open the scoring as they finally took advantage of a close-range lineout after kicking a penalty to touch, with Stewart going over after the maul.
Glasgow kept up the pressure after Tommy Seymour broke through some poor Blues tackling to run from one 22-metre line to another, before Swinson was held up just before the line.
Warriors soon crossed again after a five-metre scrum as Ali Price fed Cummings to dive over.
Dan Fish almost gifted Warriors a third try when he spilled the ball, but Nick Grigg could only make a dent in the advertising hoardings as he dived in an unsuccessful bid to chase down his kick forward.
The Blues full-back showed better handling moments later to collect Lane's short kick forward and return the ball for the winger to cross, with the match officials ruling out offside concerns.
With the wind at their backs and the deficit down to nine points, Cardiff had a comeback in their sights. But Warriors quickly took control of the second half and Fusaro touched down in the 49th minute as the hosts made their second rolling lineout maul count.
Millard crossed on the left flank after an excellent move, but Dave Rennie's side soon secured the bonus point when Kebble battled his way through and stretched to touch down as he took a major hit, which immediately forced him off injured.
However, the Cardiff-based side were in no mind to give up. Good work from Millard set up Navidi to cross and the visitors cut the gap to four points with nine minutes left when Lane rolled over after a five-metre scrum.
Warriors quickly went on the attack, though, and replacement scrum-half Horne took the ball out of a five-metre scrum to go over himself.