Guinness PRO12: We gave absolutely everything, says Warburton
Blues flanker encouraged by second-half performance after league leaders Glasgow Warriors ran in four first-half tries
Sam Warburton praised Cardiff Blues for not rolling over in their 36-17 defeat to Glasgow Warriors.
On a tough evening in the west of Scotland, the Blues found themselves 29-3 down to the Guinness PRO12 league leaders at the break when Scotland international Peter Horne bagged a 13-minute hat-trick after Warriors hooker Dougie Hall had ran in the opening try.
We went in at half-time and said we had to draw a line under it, and treat it as a 40-minute match that we had to come out on top of. What was pleasing was that the boys didn’t roll over.
Sam Warburton on Blues’ defeat to Glasgow Warriors
While Horne, who added nine points off the tee, shared the man of the match award with Warriors captain Al Kellock, winger Tommy Seymour was instrumental in shredding the Blues defence and there were other huge contributions throughout the side with tighthead prop Mike Cusack monstering Sam Hobbs in the scrum and scrum-half Henry Pyrgos showcasing his talents with quick, accurate ball to get the potent Warriors backline motoring forward.
Warriors number eight Adam Ashe broke away five minutes into the second half for the fifth try, before the Blues finally rallied, winning the last 40 minutes 14-7.
The scoreline could have been closer had a Warburton pass out wide to Fish gone to hand with the tryline begging, while the Blues spurned other chances in the second half as they enjoyed a greater share of possession after being starved of ball in the first 40 minutes, in part due to numerous costly errors at the breakdown.
Warburton, who skippered the side in the absence of Gethin Jenkins and Matthew Rees in the starting XV, was encouraged by a second-half performance that saw Gareth Davies and Dan Fish run in consolation tries with Gareth Anscombe adding seven points off the tee.
“The first half was probably one of the worst performances I’ve been involved in in a Blues shirt,” Warburton said.
“There were a few missed tackles that led to tries, which were critical for us, and gave them a massive amount of momentum.
“We tried to compete at the breakdown and got penalised, gave away too many penalties.
“The first half was so disappointing. We went in at half-time and said we had to draw a line under it, and treat it as a 40-minute match that we had to come out on top of.
“What was pleasing was that the boys didn’t roll over.
“Despite not being able to qualify for [the European Champions Cup], we still gave it absolutely everything.”
The Blues flanker admitted that he turned down the chance to take an extended break ahead of the final three rounds of the season to play against the league leaders.
We’ve got two weeks off now then the Ospreys again, so we go hard to the end of the season to try and put some pride back in the Blues jersey.
After their European Challenge Cup exit to Newport Gwent Dragons last weekend, the Blues join eight other PRO12 clubs having an extra week off as European rugby reaches the semi-final stages next weekend.
There will be no shortage of motivation for the Blues when they return to action against the Ospreys at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday 25 April for Judgement Day III.
Warburton conceded they will need a huge performance to get anything out of the derby match with Steve Tandy’s Ospreys still well in contention for a play-off place after their bonus-point win at Benetton Treviso moved them up to second in the table before Ulster and Munster play on Saturday.
And the 26-year-old wants the Blues to give their all in the last three rounds of the PRO12 to restore some pride in the jersey after another disappointing season that has seen the region struggle with injuries and consistency.
“I never find it hard to get motivated to play for Cardiff Blues,” he added.
“I was desperate to come up to Glasgow and play.
“The coaches had given me the option of having a rest until the Ospreys, but I really wanted to get out there and put in a good shift for the Blues.
“We’ve only got three games left, so we can go all guns blazing every game.
“We’ve got two weeks off now then the Ospreys again, so we go hard to the end of the season to try and put some pride back in the Blues jersey.
“It’s going to have to be one of our best performances of the season to beat the Ospreys.
“They’re a top-quality side; we were well beaten at the Liberty Stadium.
“They’re a well-drilled side and they’ve got some great players there, so it’s going to take a huge performance to get a result.”