The Cheetahs may not have fancied a night in Glasgow given the weather on Friday night but you wouldn’t have known it from a spirited opening ten minutes that saw a long range try put them into an early lead and unsettle the vocal Scotstoun crowd.
A nice delayed pass from Adam Hastings – who was reaching into his bag of tricks all night but looked an assured presence at standoff – put Niko Matawalu into a gap and allowed the Fijian to carve his way through the Cheetahs defence.
The weather was foul and it looked like there were moods to match with George Horne and Lee Jones both involved in a bit of unnecessary niggle before almost combining when Horne broke the line and then chipped diagonally for Jones to chase. Sadly all he managed was flailing boot as it bounced touchwards.
Glasgow did get the next score from a chip and chase but it was Ruaridh Jackson who regathered his own kick to touch down.
A Hastings penalty put the Warriors into the lead, but a near suicidal crossfield kick-pass from Niko inside his own 22 gave the Cheetahs enough presence to kick one back going into the sheds.
Half-time: Glasgow 15-10 Cheetahs
Lee Jones didn’t last long into the second half, going off with a suspected head knock just minutes in. Things got worse for Glasgow soon after as Chris Fusaro was penalised for unbinding from the scrum and Cheetahs fly-half Nial Marais popped a penalty over from the half-way line to make it a two point game.
The third Warriors try was awarded when Siua Halanukonuka emerged from a pile up with the ball after sustained pressure in the Cheetahs 22. Hastings only just missed a tricky conversion but Glasgow were starting to look comfortable.
Despite all the tries they struggled to really pull away from a tenacious Cheetahs side until late on; Marais pinned them back with another penalty. The lively George Horne was having an excellent game and scored the bonus point try just inside an hour after a back door offload from Niko put Sam Johnson – who looked strong just back from injury – in behind the defence before passing to his scrum-half.
But the Cheetahs kept going, fullback Clayton Blommetjies scoring just minutes later after some nice offloading from the hefty men in orange. Yes Glasgow had a bonus point but there were only 4 points in it.
A further Hastings penalty eased the lead back out before Glasgow produced the best of the bunch, Nick Grigg streaming down the left wing before popping inside to Henry Pyrgos (on for Horne) who had some jinking to do to get clear of the defenders and touch down. Every time the Cheetahs looked like they might string something together as the game came to an end, Grigg or the excellent Tim Swinson would charge directly into their midst with the direction Rennie has been seeking all season.
Grigg almost had a just reward with a try on the death but was called back by referee George Clancy so he could yellow card Cheetahs captain Francois Venter.
Grigg would probably have been happy with the result anyway.
Referee: George Clancy (IRFU)
SRBlog Man of the Match: Nick Grigg was quieter in the first half, but his direct running, nice angles and almost Hamish Watson-like ability to stay upright in the face of five or six tacklers were too much for the Cheetahs in the second. Half backs Horne and Hastings, Swinson and Matt Fagerson all had good games too.