Warriors cement top spot
Warriors cement top spotSHARE
Their 37-23 bonus-point win over the Cheetahs on Friday took them 17 points clear of their nearest rivals – Munster, who only play on Saturday.
For Glasgow, it was their 13th win of the season thanks – to an all-star showing from George Horne.
As a result, the Warriors became the first team to qualify for the knock-out stages.
The Cheetahs were, once again, their own worst enemies – captain Francois Venter the recipient of their umpteenth penalty of the season, as a lack of discipline again cost them at crucial times.
Nikola Matawalu, Ruaridh Jackson, Siua Halanukonuka, Horne and Henry Pyrgos scored for Glasgow as they eventually ground down a resilient Cheetahs.
Glasgow started like an express train after five minutes; Nick Grigg broke through the Cheetahs defence in his own 22 and raced clear to halfway before feeding Horne but the South African side scrambled back to clear the danger.
The game was turned on its head three minutes later though as Glasgow lost the ball on the Cheetahs line, allowing the visitors to race the length of the field, with Malcolm Jaer showing a turn of pace to score, with Niel Marais adding the extras.
Rocked by the score, Glasgow’s pacey winger Matawalu chose a penetrative line to burst over from 30 metres out to bring his side back into the game. After a short disagreement between the packs, Adam Hastings scored the conversion.
The two sides met in Bloemfontein in Round 6 of the PRO14, with the Warriors handing Cheetahs their only home defeat of the campaign so far.
And on 19 minutes it looked like becoming a Glasgow double this season as full-back Jackson produced a moment of individual magic to chip ahead, kick on again and then gather and score his side’s second try to make it 12-7.
Nine players are unavailable to Glasgow coach Dave Rennie because of Scotland commitments, with another nine on the injury list, but the absentees did little to stop first-half dominance for the Warriors.
Glasgow extended their lead further on 34 minutes as Hastings nailed a penalty to give his side some much-needed breathing space.
A moment of madness from Matawalu allowed Cheetahs to get a foothold back in the game on the stroke of half-time, the creative wing needlessly put up a crossfield kick in his own 22. Glasgow turned the ball over and subsequent Cheetahs pressure led to a Marais penalty.
Marais – making only his fifth start of the season so far – landed a long-range penalty on 45 minutes to pull Cheetahs to within two points of Glasgow.
Halanukonuka ensured Glasgow were rewarded for a period of sustained pressure deep in Cheetahs territory by burrowing over from close range for his first Warriors’ score on 50 minutes.
Hastings was unable to add the extras as Glasgow stretched their lead to seven points with their third try of the evening.
Almost immediately Glasgow was penalised at scrum time and Marais knocked over the penalty to bring Cheetahs back into contention at 20-16.
Glasgow secured the try bonus point just before the hour mark as Horne finished off a fantastic flowing move to notch his ninth touchdown of the season and Hastings added the extras.
Clayton Blommetjies reduced the deficit again for the Cheetahs as they refused to lie down, finishing for the visitors in the corner with Marais kicking the conversion to leave the score at 27-23.
But with 15 minutes left to play Hastings extended Glasgow’s lead with a simple penalty in front of the posts and seconds later the home side scored try number five as Pyrgos finished off a long-range score.
Their 37-23 bonus-point win over the Cheetahs in Friday took then 17 points clear of their nearest rivals – Munster, who only play on Saturday.
More to follow…
For Glasgow Warriors:
Tries: Matawalu, Jackson, Halanukonuka, Horne, Pyrgos
Cons: Hastings 3
Pens: Hastings 2
For the Cheetahs:
Tries: Jaer, Blommetjies
Cons: Marais 2
Pens: Marais 3
Yellow card: Francois Venter (Cheetahs, 79 – foul play, tripping)
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Ruaridh Jackson, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Niko Matawalu, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 George Horne, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Scott Cummings, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Siua Halanukonuka, 2 James Malcolm, 1 Alex Allan.
Replacements: 16 Grant Stewart, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 D’Arcy Rae, 19 Matt Smith, 20 Adam Ashe, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Brandon Thomson, 23 Ratu Tagive.
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Craig Barry, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Nico Lee, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Henco Venter, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Torsten Van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Jacques Du Toit, 17 Retshegofaditswe Nche, 18 Johan Coetzee, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Paul Schoeman, 21 Mthokozisi Mkhabela, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 Luther Obi.
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher (Ireland), Sam Grove-White (Scotland)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) February 16, 2018
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) February 16, 2018