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Matawalu brace secures Glasgow win

Fijian Niko Matawalu came off the bench to score two tries and inspire Glasgow to an impressive 33-12 Guinness Pro12 victory at Cardiff Arms Park.

Despite dominating the early set-pieces, the Blues crumbled in the last half-hour in a way that will baffle new coach Mark Hammett after last weekend's bonus-point victory at Zebre.

Sean Lamont also touched down for Glasgow, who kept up their unbeaten start to the season after their 22-20 win over Leinster last weekend.

After a minute's silence to honour former Cardiff chairman Tony Williams, who died recently, the Welsh region took an early lead through fly-half Rhys Patchell, who kicked a penalty from the touchline after the visitors had infringed at a maul.

Glasgow scrum-half Harry Pyrgos responded with two of his own as his side forced the Blues back, but the home team, with All Black Jarrad Hoeata making an impressive debut in the second row, were using the driving line-out to good effect and it earned them another penalty, which Patchell put over with some venom.

Despite both teams showing a willingness to throw the ball around, it was more than half an hour before the first try.

Cardiff centre Cory Allen was stripped in a tackle and Lamont raced 50 yards to the corner, barely inconvenienced by Patchell's attempt to halt him. Pyrgos converted to give the visitors a 13-6 lead at the break.

Patchell opened the second-half scoring with another penalty and, when an Adam Jones-led scrum wrecked the Warriors' set piece twice in quick succession, the number 10 blasted his kick over from 55 yards to reduce Glasgow's lead to one point.

The Warriors lost replacement prop Gordon Reid to the sin-bin, but still extended their lead when the mercurial Matawalu, who came on for Pete Horne in the 54th minute, announced his presence by spotting a gap near the right touchline before tearing away for a touchdown.

A third newcomer, Duncan Weir, converted and added two more penalties as the Scots took total control.

With the visitors back at full strength, Matawalu again found space and galloped to the posts, providing Weir with an easy conversion as the Blues defence looked increasingly fragile.

It proved the final score of an entertaining encounter which will send the Glasgow team and their supporters into Referendum Week in high spirits.


From Belfast Telegraph