Johnny Matthews maintained his incredible try-scoring record for Glasgow Warriors to inspire them to a 20-9 victory over league leaders Stormers. 

It was the proverbial game of two halves as a thrilling, action-packed opening 40 minutes was followed by a mundane second-half that failed to yield a single point. The only frustration on another positive evening under the lights at Scotstoun was the failure to secure a bonus point and it looked inevitable as they managed three by the interval. 

Matthews further cemented his place as a fans’ favourite with two tries from line-outs as he extended his impressive record to 27 in 53 appearances. Remarkably, tonight was just his 20th start in Warriors colours. Man-of-the-match Sione Tuipulotu added the other try to ensure Glasgow bounced back from an underwhelming defeat to Connacht last weekend to the delight of Franco Smith. 

“We are happy with the three tries but disappointed that we didn’t get the fourth because that one point can make a difference at the end of the season,” Smith said.

“The amount of opportunities that we created against a very physical Stormers side. Their defence was excellent and they won the majority of the collisions so it was difficult to score any tries. 

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“It’s pleasing that our guys stayed in the fight with three tries scored. We work really hard on our defensive side to compliment the attack. Our DNA is embedded in the attack side of things but we are improving in that area of the game.” 

“There was some good stuff but I must say that we made some of the same errors as last week. We need to be patient and keep chipping away. They’ve added value but we need to focus on the next challenge.

“Last year, we put to bed our ghost of not winning away,” Smith added on facing Ospreys away next week. “Connacht are a class team and last weekend was about finding a feet. They were missing their international players but that makes them even harder because they were working with no disruption.”

A quiet opening ten minutes was sparked into life by a scintillating break by the returning Sebastian Cancelliere. The Argentinian winger - who missed last weekend’s defeat due to the birth of his daughter - showed electrifying pace to burst through the Stormers and he waited until the optimum moment to pass to George Horne, but the scrum-half fumbled with the try line beckoning. 

The Stormers picked up two bonus points in their opening two wins and they got the first points on the board from Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu’s penalty after Ollie Smith was penalised for not releasing. 

Glasgow almost made the perfect response as their maul from the line-out deep in the Stormers half rolled towards the line but they were stopped marginally short. The Stormers, however, couldn’t withstand the pressure much longer as Tuipulotu scored to mark a triumphant return. 

The Scotland international was making his first appearance since returning from the World Cup and he identified a brilliant line to collect Stafford McDowall’s short pass as he arrowed between the Stormers defence with Horne adding the conversion. 

Feinberg-Mngomezulu quickly reduced the deficit to a single point from another penalty but Glasgow responded brilliantly. From the restart, Horne charged down the Stormers clearance kick to win a line-out deep in their 22. 

Glasgow ensured clean ball from Matthews’ throw as several backs joined in to set up a rolling maul and the ball, as it often does, ended up back in the hooker’s hands to drive over the line.

Horne missed the conversion but he made amends from a penalty on 35 to establish a nine-point lead for the hosts. Glasgow fully deserved their lead after a disciplined first half showing but the opposite was in effect for the visitors. 

Evan Roos was sin-binned after a TMO review for wiping out Matt Fagerson off the ball and the Stormers lost their heads just a minute later. Hooker Joseph Dweba joined his teammate in the bin after a dangerous challenge on Greg Peterson and referee Chris Busby showed leniency by not brandishing a red after the Glasgow Warriors lock was tipped vertically. 

Glasgow immediately capitalised on their two-man advantage from another well-worked line-out as the prolific Matthews scored his second try to establish an 11-point lead. 

The Stormers defended well after the interval as they prevented Glasgow from extending their advantage while they were down to 13-men. After returning to their full complement, the visitors began to apply pressure deep in Glasgow’s 22 but they couldn’t navigate past a spirited defence on numerous occasions.

Head coach Smith has repeatedly stressed the importance of defensive improvement for Glasgow and it was a massive upgrade from the defeat to Connacht.

The hosts didn’t offer much as an attacking threat in the second half until the 67th minute when Horne threatened to break clear but they looked comfortable as they secured their second win of the season. 

Starting XV: O Smith; S Cancelliere, S Tuipulotu, S McDowall,, K Rowe; T Jordan, G Horne; O Kebble, J Matthews, Z Fagerson, G Peterson, R Gray, M Fagerson, R Darge, S Vialanu. 

Replacements: A Fraser, J Bhatti, L Sordoni, S Cummings, A Samuel, H Venter, J Dobie, D Weir.

Tries: Matthews (2), Tuipulotu

Penalties: Horne

Stormers: W Gelant; A Davids, B Loader, S Feinberg-Mngomezulu, L Zas; J du Plessis, H Jantjies; A Vermaak, J Dweba, N Fouche, B Dixon, R van Heerden, W Engelbrecht, E Roos, K Morabe. 

Substitutes: A Venter, L Gqoboka, B Harris, A Smith, G Porter, M Theunissen, S Ungerer, C Blommetjies.

Tries: Feinberg-Mngomezulu (3)

Yellows: Roos, Dweba