THE good news for Glasgow Warriors is that they bounced back from deeply dispiriting loss away to Benetton last weekend with the sort of performance which brought back memories of the Scotstoun glory days during the Gregor Townsend and early Dave Rennie eras.

“Obviously, I’m very happy for the players,” said head coach Franco Smith. “I think they worked hard and wanted to see a result. The fact they were still throwing the ball around in the 84th minute showed their eagerness to play.”

The bad news for the Warriors, and for Scotland, is that flanker Rory Darge suffered an ankle dislocation, which means he is unlikely to play again this calendar year, with the kick-off of the Autumn Test Series now only five weeks away. 

“I’m devastated for Darge,” said Smith. “:I think he’s a top player. He’ll be operated on tomorrow morning. It’s his ankle, fortunately, because I think if you have to choose it will be that. It is a dislocation of the ankle, which is usually a three to five month injury."

Glasgow started brightly and although they didn’t manage to trouble the scoreboard operator during the first 10 minutes, they played with a punch and precision which was conspicuously absent during that loss in Benetton.

They then suffered that setback when Darge was injured on 13 minutes and that seemed to suck the wind out of Glasgow’s sails, and Cardiff streaked into the lead three minutes after the restart. Max Llewelyn burst through midfield, before Jarrod Evans found Josh Adams with a looping miss-pass, and the Wales and Lions winger did well to gather off his bootstraps without breaking his stride on his way to the line.

To their enormous credit, Warriors regrouped and managed to streak into the lead with a quick-fire hat-trick of tries.

The first was scored by Fraser Brown off the back of line-out maul, immediately after good work on the right from Cole Forbes and Sebastian Cancelliere lured Thomas Young into getting himself sin-binned for entering a ruck from the side.

The second was scored by Forbes who did really well to ride James Botham’s last-gasp challenge and get the ball down at the end of a sweeping attack which was launched from the home team’s 22, and which featured telling contributions from Sione Tuipulotu and Sebastian Cancelliere.

The third was claimed by Matt Fagerson, burrowing over from close range following an excellent 50-22 by Tuipulotu.

And with Horne firing home all three tough conversions from just inside the right touchline, all of a sudden it was 21-7 with half an hour played.

No sooner had their opponents returned to full strength than Glasgow found themselves on the other side of the equation when stand-off Tom Jordon was lucky to see yellow and not red for a reckless challenge on Adams which appeared to result in shoulder to head contact.

Jarrod Evans took a baby-step towards cutting down Warriors’ lead with a successful penalty, but that’s as close as they got, with a coruscating break from Horne – not his first or last of the night – taking play all the way to Cardiff’s line, and the live wire scrum-half diving over the line from close range five minutes later, to claim the four-try bonus-point on the stroke of half-time.

Cardiff fired out the blocks at the start of the second period, with Kristian Dacey stretching over and Evans converting, but Warriors had the bit between their teeth and battled their way into the opposition’s strike-zone for Zander Fagerson to over for try number five.

The visitors lost replacement centre Uilisi Haloholo to the sin-bin for a high tackle, and Warriors scored straight away through Brown claiming his second try off the back of a line-out drive.

Warriors thought they had scored again when Jordan went over on the left, but referee Chris Busby was persuaded by the TMO that there had been a forward pass earlier in the move, and the try was controversially chalked off despite the conversion having already been taken.

It was a temporary hold-up for Warriors, and they scored their seventh try just two minutes later when Jack Dempsey broke through the middle and sent Tom Gordon over. Liam Belcher scored a consolation try for Cardiff with 10 minutes to go, but Warrios had the last word with a Stafford McDowall charge-down try.