Niko Matawalu: Glasgow Warriors star shines on 100th appearance

Niko Matawalu races clear to score his second try in the win over Cardiff Blues
Matawalu races clear to score his second try in the win over Cardiff Blues

Niko Matawalu marked his 100th Glasgow Warriors appearance with two tries and a new hair-do in a man-of the-match display against Cardiff Blues.

The Fijian scored in each half at Scotstoun as the Pro14's Conference A leaders ran out 40-15 winners.

Head coach Dave Rennie told BBC Scotland: "When you've got gold and silver dreadlocks, you've got to play well, don't you?

"That was mentioned to him before the game."

A lovely break and sidestep led to Matawalu's first score, while he put the game out of the visitors' reach with a long-range interception late in the game.

Having scored a hat-trick at Ospreys last time out, he came close to repeating the feat with a thrilling kick and chase, only for the ball to just bobble out of play in the corner.

The 29-year-old spent three seasons with Glasgow before leaving for spells with Bath and Exeter, returning to Scotstoun in the summer of 2017.

"Niko played very well tonight, maybe better than last time when he got a hat-trick," added Rennie. "His first try was outstanding and he did a lot of good defensive work.

"I thought he was going to get three for a while."

'This team can get better and better'

After clinching a bonus point before the half-time interval with ruthless counter attacking, Glasgow's tempo dropped in the second half.

However, the Blues never looked like finding a way back as Rennie's men moved 13 points clear at the top of their section.

"I was very happy at half-time," added Rennie. "We were really clinical and defended well.

"Obviously, I'm not disappointed but second half there were too many missed tackles, too many defensive errors and we got exposed. We put ourselves under a lot of pressure, although we scrambled pretty well.

"From an attacking point of view, there was a lot of good stuff. We have a pretty positive mindset around how we play and our counter has been excellent. That's us scored four tries plus in the last four games."

Having this week revealed his intention to extend his contract beyond the end of the season, New Zealander Rennie said: "I'm loving it here, I'm happy, my wife is happy.

"For the rugby side of things, we have a really great bunch of men. That's important to me. We've created a culture and environment where we're bringing good young kids through. I like the fact the boys work hard for each other and we have a lot of fun.

"It's been a really satisfying period for us and I just think this team can get better and better, so I'm keen to be part of that."

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