Glasgow 40 - 15 Cardiff: Niko Matawalu steals the show

Glasgow's Niko Matawalu scores a second half try. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS/SRU
Glasgow's Niko Matawalu scores a second half try. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS/SRU
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Brilliant in the first half, pretty ordinary in the second, this was by no means a complete performance from Glasgow Warriors – but given the number of frontline players missing, and the fact that the match was over as a contest by the break, it can definitely go down as a positive experience.

This result moves the Scotstoun men 13 points clear at the top of the Guinness Pro14 Conference A table, although second-placed Munster have a game in hand until they play Zebre tomorrow.

The Warriors face Scarlets at home next Saturday, but will not have their frontline internationalists back because they will be rested.

The visitors actually took an early lead with a third-minute Jarrod Evans penalty after Jamie Bhatti was penalised, but it was one-way traffic in the opposite direction for the 30 minutes after that, with tries from Adam Ashe, man-of-the-match Niko Matawalu, Callum Gibbins and Tommy Seymour, pictured, all of which were converted by Peter Horne, building a 28-3 half-time lead.

It could have been more but Ali Price lost the ball as he went for the line after an excellent midfield break from Nick Grigg, and the scrum-half also failed to finish off a two-on-one towards the end of the half. The Blues did wrestle their way back into the contest just before half-time, but could not quite close the deficit, largely thanks to Matawalu somehow managing to halt Olly Robinson as he dived for the line.

The TMO then chalked off a score by visiting loose-head Brad Thyer at the start of the second half, before Kris Dacey finally turned pressure into points when he propelled himself over from the back of a lineout drive.

Warriors struck back through replacement wing Rory Hughes, but then conceded again when Evans took the ball on a wraparound and brushed past Nick Grigg on his way to the line.

The game had become pretty flat by now compared to the high-octane excitement of the first half, but Matawalu was still in boisterous mood, and he got the Scotstoun faithful to their feet with 13 minutes to go when he intercepted
Evans and sprinted home from 80 yards.

And he nearly grabbed his second hat-trick in as many outings when he collected the ball on the right wing, chipped his man and gathered, then grubbered past the final defender – but he couldn’t quite get around the player and the opportunity floated away.