John Mulvilhill admitted Cardiff Blues “let themselves down” as an error-strewn defeat at home to Glasgow Warriors punctured the early optimism of their Heineken Champions Cup campaign.
Just a week after their impressive win over Lyon in France, the Blues flopped in front of their own fans – losing 29-12 at the Arms Park.
The result leaves the Blues already struggling to qualify for the knockout stages after just two rounds.
They may have only lost one game, but they gave up a bonus point to Glasgow – who ran in four tries – and are in third place in their pool with back-to-back fixtures against Saracens to come next.
Blues coach Mulvihill said: “Our effort was good but the performance didn’t reflect that. This is a fantastic competition for us to be in, but we probably let ourselves down a little bit today.
“The effort was there, but the finesse and finish wasn’t. That something we need to make sure, when we play against teams like that, that we have to go on and score points.”
The truth is that the Blues were taught a lesson by Glasgow, who were far sharper in attack and much more resilient in defence. The Scots, who are as expertly coached by Kiwi Dave Rennie as they were under his predecessor Gregor Townsend, eased into an early lead and held the Blues at arm’s length for the rest of the contest without really having to break sweat.
The only bright spot for the Blues was the finishing prowess of wing Aled Summerhill, who scored two tries.
In an honest appraisal, Mulvihill acknowledged the Blues were well beaten and he added: “They’re a really good team. They move the ball really well, they slowed the ball down, they slowed the game down in patches and controlled that tempo.
“We created a lot of opportunities, but didn’t finish them off. Even towards the end of the game, when there were a few passes that went out of the tackle and into the opposition players’ hands.
The real beneficiaries were pool three leaders Saracens, who are four points clear of their rivals heading into December home and away fixtures against the Blues.
Glasgow, beaten at home by Saracens last weekend, did not look back after fly-half Adam Hastings and wing DTH van der Merwe scored tries in the first five minutes.
Hastings also added a conversion and penalty before half-time, and when scrum-half Ali Price rounded off a crisp move early in the second period, the only serious debate was whether or not Glasgow would claim a five-point maximum.
Glasgow got there when lock Jonny Gray added a fourth try 12 minutes from time – again converted by Hastings – and there was no doubting their supremacy over a Blues side that fell way short of repeating last Sunday’s performance in France.
Wing Summerhill claimed two consolation tries for the Blues, with Gareth Anscombe adding a conversion, but they were also chasing a game that, in truth, was beyond reach following Glasgow’s early onslaught.