Glasgow: Fit-again Mike Cusack praised after win over Scarlets

Glasgow prop Mike Cusack
Glasgow prop Mike Cusack made his return from long-term injury

Gregor Townsend has hailed the returning Mike Cusack for inspiring his props in what he considers to be one of Glasgow Warriors best performances.

Cusack made his first Scotstoun appearance since November 2012 in the 22-7 victory over Scarlets.

"All credit to Mike Cusack to come into a game like that when there's a lot of scrums and a lot of work to do into the wind," said coach Townsend.

"It is a good position to be in when the props are challenging each other."

The win took Warriors back to the top of the Pro12 table, at least until title rivals Ospreys host Dragons on Sunday.

And Townsend was full of praise for the performance of Cusack, who has recovered from injury and illness problems, and Jerry Yanuyanutawa in a front row completely changed following the defeat by Edinburgh.

"He was great," said the coach of Cusack. "Yes, he's got to work hard to get fitter and get match fitness, but we're really pleased for him.

"Both props were at the beginning of the game - Jerry was fantastic.

"He's not played for us since October, so he's had to work really hard and he's had a couple of injuries.

"I thought the way that both props played in the first half sent a message to the two props that came off the bench.

"I could tell Ryan Grant was fired up, with great carries and tackles, and Euan Murray was the same, really worked hard."

Cusack joined Glasgow after leaving Doncaster Knights in 2011 and signed a new three-year contract a year later only to have his appearances curtailed.

The 30-year-old Englishman told BBC Scotland. "It is great to be back after a long time out, but it's awesome to get the win.

"I managed to come back after a couple of injuries and then the last few weeks I've been playing club rugby in Scotland.

"It is about getting the lungs and the legs back."

Niko Matawalu impressed for Glasgow at scrum-half
Niko Matawalu impressed for Glasgow at scrum-half

Meanwhile, Townsend also praised scrum-half Niko Matawalu, who will be moving to Bath this summer, for his performance against Scarlets.

"I thought he had one of his best games this season," said the coach. "I felt he was bringing others into the game really well.

"Josh Strauss got man of the match, but there were a number of times when he delayed the pass just so Josh could get a half break.

"The conditions you probably don't associate with Niko's normal game - he kicked really good when it was on and he is a bruised boy.

"At half time, there were a few knocks because, when he runs so hard at defenders, he feels it. We are really pleased that he's back on top form."