Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Matawalu hoping to impress

Glasgow scrum-half Niko Matawalu says he will have to accept a slot on the wing until he can prove to head coach Gregor Townsend that he is back to his best.

The Fiji international missed the first three games of the season with a broken bone in his foot but returned as a substitute for the Warriors 24-17 win over Zebre two weeks ago.

He was back in the side for last Saturday's 17-12 victory in Wales over Scarlets but was shunted wide to the wing by Townsend as the boss continues to alternate between Henry Pyrgos and Chris Cusiter at number nine, which is Matawalu's favoured position.

Having won five out of five in the RaboDirect PRO12, Heineken Cup duty now sees Glasgow travel to France on Sunday to take on the holders Toulon but again Matawalu will start on the flank.

However, the the 24-year-old knows an impressive display against the European champions could see him reclaim the number nine shirt.

He said: "I played a few minutes at Zebre and then came back on the wing against Scarlets but I still need game time to improve my fitness.

"It will take time for me to get fit again but the lads have won five out of five, I can't expect to come straight back into the side.

"They have played well so I'm not guaranteed to get my place back. Henry was captain for one match recently, Chris the other.

"It won't be easy to reclaim the number nine jersey but Gregor says whoever performs the best will play."

Scotland stand-off Duncan Weir made his return to action from a broken leg against Scarlets but drops back to the bench for Sunday's match against a side Dark Blues interim coach Scott Johnson has dubbed the "Real Madrid of rugby".

Glasgow have been dealt a blow with the news Stuart Hogg faces a spell on the sidelines, and it could also spell bad news for Scotland as t he 21-year-old British and Irish Lions full-back has undergone wrist surgery and looks set to miss the autumn internationals.

Toulon are skippered by English World Cup-winner Jonny Wilkinson and also boast international stars such as France centre Mathieu Bastareaud and South Africa's speed merchant Bryan Habana.

But Weir believes Glasgow's collective unity can overpower their famous opponents.

"The names in their squad are ridiculous - there are so many top stars," he said. "We don't have that many big names in our squad but we feel we have a more collective spirit.

"We all fight for one another and hopefully we will be able to pick off the individuals in the Toulon team come Sunday."


From Belfast Telegraph