Glasgow Warriors V Southern Kings
Glasgow Warriors returned to domestic action in style, running in seven tries to claim a bonus-point 43-13 victory over the Southern Kings.Zander Fagerson scores the bonus-point try
A sold-out Scotstoun saw seven different try scorers write their name on the scoresheet, with George Horne claiming the man-of-the-match award on his first competitive start for the club.
With Dave Rennie looking for a reaction from his players after a disappointing European fortnight, the Warriors made the perfect start. Just 49 seconds were on the clock when Sam Johnson burst through the Kings’ defensive line, before the Australian popped an offload to Stuart Hogg for the score. Adam Hastings’ conversion sailed just wide, but the home side led 5-0.
However, the South Africans thought they had hit back immediately, flanker Andisa Ntsila crashing over from close range. Upon consulting the TMO, though, referee Mike Adamson ruled there had been obstruction in the build-up, and the try was chalked off.
Undeterred, the Kings continued to probe the Glasgow defence, and were rewarded with their first points of the evening on 12 minutes, as full-back Masixole Banda made no mistake with a penalty from in front of the posts.
Both sides were looking to attack at every opportunity, with some breathless passages of play producing opportunities at both ends. On 22 minutes, the visitors took the lead, Banda thumping over a kick from halfway to give his side a 6-5 advantage.
The Warriors were almost in for their second try after 28 minutes, as Johnson’s leg drive saw him break to within five metres of the line. His offload could only ricochet off the face of Matt Fagerson, though, and the chance went begging.
Nick Grigg was one of seven try scorersThe try wasn’t long in coming, however. After Nick Grigg was dragged down just short the ball was recycled, before Niko Matawalu acrobatically dived over the top of the ruck to touch down. Hastings was pinpoint accurate with the conversion, and the home side led 12-6 with 32 minutes played.
Not content to sit back on the lead, the home side duly scored another straight from the kick-off. Hastings’ break and some wonderful support play from the likes of George Horne and Matt Fagerson saw Glasgow into the Kings’ 22, before repeat phases eventually saw Grigg pick a superb line and race over from close range. The conversion was successful, with the score now reading 19-6 in the Warriors’ favour.
As the half drew to a close, the Scotstoun crowd were brought to their feet by an electric break from Horne, the scrum-half taking a quick penalty inside his 22 and darting into the Kings’ half. His wide pass just eluded the onrushing Matawalu, however, with the half-time whistle sounding shortly afterwards.
In contrast to the first half, the Scotstoun crowd had to wait a full 19 minutes for the first score of the second period, as both sides looked for the decisive break. When it came, it was the Warriors who profited. A front peel from a five-metre lineout saw Zander Fagerson crash his way over in the corner, Hastings’ conversion coming back off the post to leave the score at 24-6.
Having had to wait for their fourth try, the Warriors added their fifth just five minutes later. A kick to the corner and a powerful rolling maul eventually saw Matt Smith ground the ball for the try. Ruaridh Jackson, on at fly-half for Hastings, also saw his conversion attempt strike the upright, with the score-line reading 29-6 in favour of the home side.
On 72 minutes, forward power was again the catalyst for a Glasgow score, with sustained pressure in the Kings 22 leading to Horne being driven over by his pack for his first competitive Warriors try. Jackson’s conversion extended the lead to 36-6 as the game entered the final ten minutes.
The Kings were not to be held scoreless in the second half, though. Substitute Jacques Nel read the play perfectly to intercept a pass from debutant Stafford McDowall, with Oliver Zono converting from in front of the posts.Niko Matawalu scored on his return to Scotstoun
McDowall almost redeemed himself moments later, the big centre’s burst taking him to within touching distance of the try-line. When the ball was recycled, George Turner’s pass found Matawalu, with the Fijian only denied by a high tackle from Nel, earning the Kings centre a yellow card.
From the resulting penalty, the Warriors capped off their victory with try number seven from the final play of the game. Once again, the pack was at the heart of the action, rumbling over the try-line to allow George Turner to touch down for his first score in a Glasgow shirt. Jackson’s conversion was a beauty from out wide, taking the final score to 43-13.
Another bonus-point victory ensures that Glasgow maintain their unbeaten domestic record, with their seventh straight victory in the Guinness PRO14 ensuring that they remain the team to catch in Conference A. They face a quick turnaround ahead of their next test, as Leinster are the next visitors to a sold-out Scotstoun a week tonight.