Glasgow Warriors made it seven wins from seven in the Guinness Pro14 with an emphatic seven-try win over the outclassed Southern Kings at Scotstoun last night.
Dave Rennie’s side tightened their grip at the top of Conference A as tries by Stuart Hogg, Nick Grigg, Niko Matawalu, Zander Fagerson, Matt Smith, George Horne and George Turner wrapped up a decisive victory.
The Warriors were looking to bounce back after a couple of sore defeats in Europe and, although a side that was a blend of experience and youth toiled for periods, they were far too good for the struggling Port Elizabeth-based franchise.
Rennie said: “I wasn’t happy at half-time. We were a little bit loose and gave the ball back too often. Eventually we got in the right part of the field. We were patient. I thought our big men up front did a good job.
“There was some good things tonight but we will have to lift ourselves for next week [against Leinster].”
The Kings’ hope, following a few weeks’ respite due to the European break, that they could draw a line under a dismal winless opening to their foray into northern hemisphere competition couldn’t have got off to a worse start.
The Warriors were in for a try within a minute as centre Sam Johnson broke the line and then popped the ball for full-back Hogg to run in a simple score.
Stand-off Adam Hastings, making his first competitive start for the club, missed the conversion and it looked like the South Africans had made an immediate response when flanker Andisa Ntsila went over at the posts after wing Alshaun Bock had carved the hosts open. However, the TMO ruled that illegal blocking had been employed and it was chalked off.
The Kings did secure the first South African Pro14 points on Scottish soil soon after when Masixole Banda stroked over a penalty. He then notched an even more impressive effort from almost halfway to edge his side in front heading into the second quarter.
Johnson bounced off a tackle to make another surge in the 29th minute but his pass off the deck couldn’t quite be gathered by the onrushing Matt Fagerson, who knocked on under the posts.
Glasgow were not to be denied for long, however, as centre Grigg, who signed a new two-year contract and was named in the Scotland squad last week, barrelled his way close to the line. The ball went left and Matawalu, pictured, celebrated his first start since returning to the club with some trademark quick thinking to spring over for the try, which Hastings converted.
Tails were up now and the Warriors unleashed a blistering assault on the creaking Kings which ended with Grigg bursting through to score from close range and Hastings again adding the extras.
Glasgow re-emerged for the second half 13 points ahead but struggled to build early momentum as the Kings continued to prove game, if limited, opponents.
It took until almost the hour mark for the bonus point to be secured as a slick lineout mauling move led to tighthead Zander Fagerson crashing over in the right-hand corner. Hastings’ conversion attempt came back off the post.
Hogg then looked to be away and clear, only for Scottish referee and former Warriors player Mike Adamson to pull play back for crossing. Young flanker Smith got the fifth try as the Glasgow pack rumbled over. This time it was Ruaridh Jackson, on for Hastings, whose conversion attempt rebounded off the upright, although he was able to convert when man-of-the-match scrum-half Horne, on his first start, crashed over.
The Kings got a consolation score when Jacques Nel pounced to intercept in the Glasgow 22 before Turner completed the scoring with another pushover try and Jackson’s conversion sailed over.