November 02, 2018
Ospreys 20 - 29 Glasgow Warriors
GUINNESS PRO14 match played at Liberty Stadium on Friday November 2nd 2018 | No comments
Nikola Matawalu went over or three tries Glasgow Warriors secured a valuable bonus-point win in tonight's PRO14 meeting with Ospreys.
With both sides in good form this looked an intriguing match-up, and one in which Ospreys scored the first try through back-row Olly Cracknell early on.
But Nikola Matawalu, brought on as an early replacement for the injured Ruaridh Jackson, fired back with a double before the quarter-way point and wrapped up his hat-trick just after the break.
The excellent Nick Grigg got the crucial fourth, meaning Hanno Dirksen's late reply was a mere consolation and the Warriors march on with a five-point maximum.
The home side started on the front foot at the Liberty Stadium and took the lead after a spell of pressure resulted in full-back Dan Evans bursting through the 22 and Cracknell proving unsurprisingly unstoppable from short distance in the next play.
Sam Davies converted but the Warriors were in no mood to surrender any more initiative and after charging down Tom Habberfield's box-kick found themselves with space to attack.
The ball was worked out wide to wing DTH van der Merwe, who took contact and delivered a brilliant impromptu offload for replacement Matawalu to sweep round the back and cross.
Better was to come just three minutes later as outside centre Grigg came up with a trademark break, using all of his strength to stay on his feet and feed the supporting Matawalu, who had two tries inside 15 minutes despite not starting the match.
Davies clawed back a penalty on 26 minutes and missed a tricky one just before the break, but got the scoreboard moving again early in the second half.
From there though Glasgow came back once again, with an excellent combination between backs and forwards.
The Warriors pack muscled their way close to the Ospreys line and got the ball out to fly-half Brandon Thomson, who delivered a semi-chipped cross-field kick out to the waiting Matawalu for the hat-trick.
Heading into the final quarter the away side led 22-13 but decided that wasn't enough, and secured the bonus point on the hour mark as a break from deep saw the ball moved to Grigg to go in under the posts.
Thomson converted to create a 16-point lead and Ospreys tried to get back into it, eventually threatening a comeback five minutes from time as Dirksen pounced on a loose kick and evading the remaining defenders to grab a consolation.
Glasgow Warriors head coach Dave Rennie said: "The game felt more secure than the result shows. I think we had more punch in attack and defensively we had a wall in front of them for the majority of the game.
"We got a lot right and I thought we were pretty clinical. If we held on to a little bit more ball we could have hurt them even more.
"We have some good kids coming through and we are very happy to get five weeks after last week's disappointment."