Pro14: Glasgow Warriors 35-17 Cheetahs - hosts consolidate top spot

By Andy BurkeBBC Scotland at Scotstoun
Centre Kyle Steyn crashed over for his first Glasgow try in the first half
Centre Kyle Steyn crashed over for his first Glasgow try in the first half
Pro14: Glasgow Warriors v Cheetahs
Glasgow Warriors (21) 35
Tries: Gibbins, Steyn, Hughes, McDowall, Cummings Cons: Horne (3), Hastings (2)
Cheetahs (5) 17
Tries: Small-Smith (2), Dweba Con: Schoeman

Glasgow Warriors fought off determined Cheetahs to claim a bonus-point win and stay top of Pro14 Conference A.

Callum Gibbins and Kyle Steyn scores sandwiched William Small-Smith's touchdown for Cheetahs, Rory Hughes then putting Glasgow 21-5 up.

Joseph Dweba hit back for the visitors before Stafford McDowall's try sealed the bonus point for Warriors.

Scott Cummings added their fifth try before Small-Smith grabbed his second for Cheetahs at the death.

The win keeps Glasgow in pole position to secure the home semi-final spot in Conference A. They lead Munster by three points with three games left.

Clinical Glasgow clinch error-strewn contest

The international windows have traditionally hit Glasgow hard because of the raft of players they lose to the Scotland squad.

Their form recently has been terrific, though, collecting 19 of the 20 points available during the Six Nations period to remain top of Conference A.

They do have Munster breathing down their necks as they look to secure the home semi-final that comes with topping the conference at the end of the regular season and, with the Irish side hosting Zebre at the same time, Warriors knew it was highly likely a win would be required to keep them at the summit.

Captain Gibbins was back in the side for the first time since undergoing ankle surgery in January and took just six minutes to make his presence felt by powering over from close range to open the scoring.

Cheetahs' response was swift and clinical. A slick move put winger Small-Smith in space out wide and he fended off Ruaridh Jackson to speed over in the corner.

The response to the response was just as good. A couple of half-breaks put Warriors on the front foot and, when the ball came out to the backs, Peter Horne fed Steyn arriving on a cracking line to slice through and go in under the posts.

When the Cheetahs' ruck defence left a hole the size of the Clyde for Hughes to stroll through for try number three, you wondered whether after just half an hour the resistance of the South African side, already out of the reckoning for the play-offs, would begin to wane.

With the visitors down to 14 men following the sin-binning of prop Charles Marais, the home crowd would have fully expected to see their side go on to win handsomely.

The Cheetahs struck next, however, substitute hooker Dweba blasting through to score.

In the third quarter, Warriors were guilty of coughing up possession, with substitute Adam Hastings kicking possession away needlessly on a few occasions.

When Glasgow stuck to their normal game, they had Cheetahs on toast. A flowing move that started from inside their own half, featuring several sharp offloads from Fraser Brown, Steyn and Hughes, ended with young centre McDowall driving over the line, dragging a couple of defenders along for the ride.

Errors on both sides sapped much of the life from the closing stages, but a powerful burst from lock Cummings brought try number five.

The last word went to Cheetahs, though, Small-Smith diving over in the corner for his second try to provide another reminder that Glasgow will need to tighten up defensively against their next opponents.

Saracens will need far fewer openings to do much more damage in next weekend's Champions Cup quarter-final.

Stafford McDowall stretches to score and clinch the bonus point for Glasgow
Stafford McDowall stretches to score and clinch the bonus point for Glasgow

Glasgow Warriors: Jackson, Matawalu, Steyn, McDowall, Hughes, Horne, Frisby; Kebble, Brown, Z Fagerson, Swinson, Cummings, Harley, Gibbins (capt), M Fagerson.

Replacements: Stewart, Bhatti, Halanukonuka, Fusaro, Hastings, Kelly, Nairn.

Cheetahs: Jaer, Small-Smith, Van Rensburg, Swanepoel, Maxwane, Schoeman, Meyer (capt); Marais, Van der Merwe, Coetzee, Manjezi, Steenkamp, Maartens, Nonkontwana, H Venter.

Replacements: Dweba, R Venter, De Bruin, Basson, Du Preez, Olivier, S Venter, Fouche.

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