Glasgow Warriors 17
FAMILIAR disappointment for Glasgow Warriors in Pretoria as poor discipline and a mid second half slump saw this game float away from them. A late Ollie Smith try opened up the prospect of salvaging a losing bonus-point, and the full-back went over again in the final minute which would have pulled the deficit back to less than seven points, but it was chalked off for a forward pass earlier in the move.
This result means that Warriors return home from their south African mini-tour with a record of zero wins from two games, with an aggregate score of 61 points against and 24 for.
“We’ve certainly been taught a few lessons here,” said Warriors head coach Danny Wilson, reflecting on this match and last weekend’s defeat to the Stormers. “Again, physically we really struggled, we lacked breakdown presence, we couldn’t get go-forward and were then isolated, and when we did try to have a crack at them we couldn’t string enough together to do it.
“On top of that, our discipline let us down today, which has usually been relatively good,” he added. “We gave away a couple of cheap penalties which piggy-backed them down the field.
“They are a good team, there is no doubt about that. They are a powerful team and we lost physically tonight, quite comfortably.”
Glasgow’s chances of a top four finish in the URC, and therefore home draw in the play-offs, are not dead yet, but they could well be by tomorrow [Saturday] night depending on how the Stormers, the Sharks and Ulster fair in their respective round 17 matches.
The more pressing concern now is over their shoulder, with ninth placed Scarlets able to move to just two points behind them if they get a bonus point win at the Ospreys tomorrow night, which would make Warriors’ final match of the regular league campaign against Edinburgh on 21st May a make-or-break occasion in terms of being involved at all in the knock-out phase of the season.
“We unfortunately lost a lot of players to injury tonight,” continued Wilson. “Rory Darge has injured his knee, I don’t know how bad it is at the moment but it doesn’t look good. Tom Gordon has a head knock so we’ll have to see how he comes through the concussion protocols, and Fraser Brown did something to his shoulder so I would be very doubtful about him being available next week
“It was the same last week so there are a number of players who are going to get a different experience, and get on the field for us.”
“We’ll learn a lot from this. We’re going to patch ourselves up, and go again next week when we’ve got a big game in Europe against Lyon, then the end of the season is all away from home.”
It started well for Glasgow, with Jamie Bhatti earning a penalty at the first scrum, and clean line-out ball setting up a sustained bombardment of the home try-line, eventually yielding another penalty which Warriors chose to kick to the corner rather than take the three easy points. This approach paid off with the line-out maul being illegally collapsed by Erlich Louw, leading to a yellow-card and penalty try.
Despite being a man down, Bulls bounced right back through scrum-half Zak Burger after some forceful phases by his big forwards, with Morne Steyn adding the extras. One step forward, one step back, which is typical of Glasgow this season.
With their tails-up, Bulls looked the more likely to score next throughout the sin-bin period, but Glasgow weathered the storm and then nudged themselves back into the lead on 20 minutes when Duncan Weir bisected the posts following a no-arms-tackle by Walt Steenkamp on Smith in front of the posts.
Glasgow threatened again when Darge spun off the back of a line-out maul and released Stafford McDowall, but Bulls hooker Johan Grobbelaar did well to snaffle possession after the big centre was eventually brought down five yards from then home try-line.
Steyn squared it just before the half hour mark when Warriors were penalised for collapsing a scrum, and with Warriors’ discipline unravelling, the veteran stand-off really should have nudged the hosts ahead just before the break following an offside, but he uncharacteristically miscued an easy one from almost directly in front of the posts.
That was a big let-off, but Warriors seemed determined to make life hard for themselves, conceding a couple more penalties, which eventually led to referee Nika Amashukeli understandably losing patience and sending Zander Fagerson for 10 minutes in the sin-bin. Bulls kicked to the corner this time and continued to build pressure until winger Madosh Tambwe came off his wing to streak home unchallenged.
It looked like Tambwe had claimed his second after 12 minutes of the second half when he showed lightning pace to outstrip Smith when chasing down Lionel Mapoe‘s inch-perfect diagonal toe-poke towards the left touchline, but a referral to the TMO identified that the Bulls winger had been a few inches in front of the kicker.
Bulls kept cranking up the pressure, with their line-out maul particularly profitable, and there was no need to refer it upstairs for a video review when Walt Steenkamp burst past Brown and propelled himself over. And the home bonus point was in the bag with 62 minutes played when Cyle Brink announced his arrival as a replacement for Louw by rumbling over after another punishing period of pressure.
Smith did manage to pull one back for the visitors when he hit a great line off Sione Tuipulotu with eight minutes to go, opening up the prospect of a losing bonus-point which could be crucial in the fight for play-off qualification.
And it looked like Smith had snatched that score they needed with just 30 seconds left on the clock, but the second to last pass during the build-up, from Tuipulotu to Josh McKay, had floated forward, so it was correctly chalked off.
Vodacom Bulls: C Moodie; J Verity-Arm, L Mapoe (H Vorster 64), C Hendricks, M Tambwe; M Steyn (C Smith 59), Z Burger (E Papier 71); G Steenekamp (S Matanzima 66), J Grobbelaar (J Wessels 66), M Smith (D Smith 66), W Steenkamp, R Nortje (J Swanepoel 63-75), M Coetzee, A Botha, E Louw (C Brink 59).
Glasgow Warriors: O Smith; J McKay, S Tuipulotu, S McDowall (S Johnson 55), C Forbes; D Weir (R Thompson 63), A Price (J Dobie 71); J Bhatti (O Kebble 54), G Turner (F Brown 50-63), Z Fagerson (S Berghan 63), R Harley, R Gray, R Wilson, R Darge (T Gordon 40, K McDonald 50), J Dempsey.
Referee: Nika Amashukeli
Vodacom Bulls: Tries: Burger, Tambwe, W Steenkamp, Brink; Con: Steyn 3; Pen: Steyn.
Glasgow Warriors: Tries: Penalty Try, Smith; Con: Thompson; Pen: Weir
Scoring sequence (Bulls first): 0-7; 5-7; 7-7; 7-10; 10-10; 15-10; 17-10(h-t) 22-10; 24-10; 29-10; 29-15; 29-17.
Yellow cards –
Bulls: Louw (5mins)
Glasgow Warriors: Fagerson (40mins)
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