Pro14: Glasgow Warriors 40-15 Cardiff Blues - Hosts go 13 clear at summit
|Glasgow Warriors (28) 40|
|Tries: Ashe, Matawalu 2, Gibbins, Seymour, Hughes Cons: Horne 5|
|Cardiff Blues (3) 15|
|Tries: Dacey, Evans Con: Evans Pen: Evans|
Glasgow Warriors went 13 points clear at the Pro14 Conference A summit with a six-try victory over Cardiff Blues.
Adam Ashe, Niko Matawalu, Callum Gibbins and Tommy Seymour crossed to earn the scintillating hosts a bonus point and a 28-3 half-time lead.
Blues grew far more potent thereafter, Kristian Dacey and Jarrod Evans scoring either side of Rory Hughes' effort.
But Matawalu, on his 100th Warriors outing, ran in a blockbuster long-range second to kill their revival.
The Fijian took his haul to five tries in two matches, after scoring a treble in Glasgow's last game, a win at Ospreys.
First-half blitz floors Blues
Glasgow scored four tries in the first half and could have had more. This team - and the way coach Dave Rennie has them motoring - can butcher you from anywhere.
They had less of the ball and less of the territory in that first 40 minutes. Nick Williams, the Blues' rock of a number eight, battered them at the breakdown. They shipped seven penalties. Yet they led by 25 when it was over.
Glasgow were devastating. They ran from deep at searing pace and, most of the time, had the precision to match. After Jarrod Evans opened the scoring with a penalty, off they went.
Ali Price should have run in the first try when Nick Grigg sent him steaming up the middle, but a fabulous cover tackle from Tom Williams knocked the ball from his grasp right at the line.
Blues didn't hit touch with the clearance, and another Glasgow wave came at them. Ruaridh Jackson, a classy influence at full-back, drew three players and put Ashe trundling over. Pete Horne converted.
The second was a real crowd-pleaser. Matawalu, Scotstoun's darling box-office Fijian, blasted through a cleverly-crafted hole in the Blues defence, stepped Williams and plunged over.
It was vintage Matawalu, a man whose outrageous skill-set and propensity for the kamikaze make him utterly unique and deeply cherished. Horne kicked the extras to take the score to 14-3.
Evans skewed a penalty wide and Price, scampering free again, timed his pass to George Turner wrong, allowing Tom Williams to bat the ball away and prevent a certain try.
Still, Warriors continued to carve Blues open. They got their third score on the half-hour and it was a beauty.
Price took a penalty quickly just outside the home 22. Stafford McDowall powered away, off-loaded over the top to Jackson, who brilliantly flipped it behind his back to Grigg.
The little centre released Gibbins and the captain fended and stretched well through the tackle to finish.
Horne put the conversion over, then struck the post with a penalty. The bonus point soon followed. Seymour started the move with a delightful catch-and-pass to Grigg, and tracked his team-mate up the touchline, took the ball back and coasted in.
Centurion Matawalu steals the show
Blues came rumbling back. They won three penalties and put each to the corner, but couldn't get over, Matawalu holding Olly Robinson up just short and Kiran McDonald pilfering a line-out with the clock red. Scotstoun roared and Glasgow made it to half-time with their line intact.
The second half began with another power-laden Welsh raid. It looked for all the world that Lloyd Williams had burrowed over, but the officials ruled otherwise.
They went for the corner again and this time, finally, Dacey drove to the whitewash, Evans failing with the conversion. They had their score but they had to work so hard for it when Glasgow had thundered through them at will.
Glasgow wobbled a bit in the immediate aftermath of the Dacey try, but they kept the ball and scored a fifth. Price side-footed a grubber into the corner, Tom Williams slipped and Hughes scooped up the ball and slid in.
Horne missed the conversion, and the Blues kept throwing punches. They landed another one on the hour mark when Evans powered through Grigg's tackle and bagged seven more points.
As Blues came again, and began to take more risks, Matawalu slew them. The Fijian picked off Evans' teasing pass and roared some 80m to score, Horne converting.
There was almost a perfect finale for Matawalu, the incredible centurion coming within a whisker of a hat-trick and a sixth try in two matches.
He swaggered up the right, chipped one defender, ignored two free team-mates to clip the ball past another, and couldn't quite get to it before it bobbled out.
Bonkers hair billowing in his wake, it was Matawalu in microcosm - flamboyant, breathless, ridiculous - the show-stopper delivering on his special night.
Glasgow Warriors: Jackson; Seymour, Grigg, McDowall, Matawalu; P Horne, Price; Bhatti, Turner, Rae, Harley, McDonald, Ashe, Gibbins (capt), M Fagerson.
Replacements: Stewart, Bryce, Du Plessis, Swinson, Smith, Frisby, Thomson, Hughes.
Cardiff Blues: T Williams; Summerhill, Smith, Halaholo, Harries; Evans, L Williams (capt); Thyer, Dacey, Assiratti, Earle, Davies, Turnbull, Robinson, N Williams.
Replacements: Belcher, Carre, Andrews, Down, Bennett, Jones, Shingler, Millard.