Glasgow v Bulls: Warriors sweep to impressive bonus-point victory

Hosts scored five tries through Matt Fagerson, Sebastian Cancelliere, Scott Cummings, George Horne and Josh McKay

Scott Cummings celebrates scoring Glasgow Warriors' third try against Bulls. Image: © Craig Watson -
Scott Cummings celebrates scoring Glasgow Warriors' third try against Bulls. Image: © Craig Watson -

Glasgow Warriors 35

Bulls 21

DAVID BARNES @ Scotstoun

JUST as they did a fortnight ago, Glasgow Warriors produced an abrasive and ambitious performance to sweep to a bonus-point win at home. This victory was built on a breath-taking first half in which Franco Smith’s boys scored four tries to their opponents’ one, and although they ran out of steam as an attacking force during the second-half, they continued to defend like their lives depended on it, meaning that Bulls were never really in the contest.

This United Rugby Championship round four success was even more impressive than Glasgow’s round two result against Cardiff because of the calibre of the opposition (last season’s United Rugby Championship finalists who had won their fist three matches of this season). However, it is hard to escape the feeling that we can only really start believing that real progress is being made once Warriors start backing up their fine recent home form by producing something more robust on the road, starting against the Sharks in Durban next weekend followed by the Lions in Johannesburg the weekend after.

Warriors have lost seven games away from home on the bounce since beating Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park in mid-April. They may have played slightly better away to the Ospreys last weekend than they did away to Benetton two weeks before that, but the outcome was the same. If Warriors want to become more than a mid-table team scrapping to make the play-offs each season then they need to start playing with the same courage and conviction away from Scotstoun as they do at their home ground.

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“There is still a lot to improve on and that’s the best part for me,” said head coach Smith afterwards. “We worked hard all pre-season knowing that we would have to match the South African teams physically, and that was important to what we manged to achieve tonight.

“The momentum was taken away from us in the second half because we had 10 penalties blown against us, so we couldn’t build anything. But the benefit of that is that we have to learn to win with the ball and without it, and we did that night  with the way we defended. Mentally and physically, we stayed tough when things weren’t going our way.”

Warriors raced into a seventh minute lead when they kicked a penalty to the corner then launched a series of close-range attacks, which culminated in man-of-the-match Matt Fagerson bustling over. George Horne added the conversion and Warriors kept their foot on the gas straight from the restart, scoring their second just three minutes later.

This time captain for the night Sione Tuipulotu and hooker Fraser Brown combined to send Sebastian Cancelliere on a 30-yard dash to the line.

It wasn’t all one-way traffic and Bulls pulled seven points back when No 8 Elrigh Louw snaffled possession from Horne as he tried to break from the base of a ruck and Kurt-Lee Arendse streaked home unchallenged off that turnover ball.

Warriors counter-punched immediately through Scott Cummings burrowing over after another penalty had been kicked to the corner for a close-range line-out, and they then rode their luck when Ruan Nortje collected his own charge-down of a sloppy Tom Jordan clearance and thundered over the line, only for the Television Match Official to rule that there had been a knock-on when the loose ball ricocheted off a Bulls player before being picked up.

If lady luck had smiled on the home team on that occasion, then the credit is all Glasgow’s for the way they defended the next Bulls attack, counter-rucking their way to a turnover and then winning a penalty which allowed Jordan to clear the danger. It wasn’t the last time that Warriors aggression and the breakdown won possession back for the home team at a crucial moment.

Glasgow’s resilience in defence during the middle section of the first half was rewarded when the pendulum swung back their way five minutes before the break, and the bonus-point was secured with a moment of audacious individual brilliance from Horne..

Jordan sweeping round and hitting the line hard put Warriors on the front foot near halfway, and, unperturbed by his mishap the last time he tried to break from the base, Horne picked up and scampered through a gap. He made it all way to five metres from the Bulls line before some desperate defence pulled him down, only for the live-wire scrum-half to bounce straight back to his feet and catapult himself out of the grasp of two defenders for a try which got Scotstoun bouncing.


Warriors started the second half as they ended the first and another breathless passage of play led to try number five when Cancelliere danced past his marker and then sent Josh McKay over with a brilliant one-handed offload.

Both sides were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes when Horne and Louw found themselves in a David versus Goliath type tussle on the deck. No punches were thrown but it was pretty unsavoury and unnecessary, so Irish referee Andrew Brace sent the little Scottish scrum-half and the huge South African No 8 for a spell in the cooler.

“He doesn’t have a size problem – he thinks he’s as tall as a giant,” was Smith’s assessment of Horne afterwards. “It was unfortunate that he injured his back in the gym so missed last week but the break gave him more energy because he was definitely applying himself to the maximum tonight.”

Replacement hooker Bismarck Du Plessis bustled in for Bulls’ second try on the hour mark, and Chris Smith once again added the conversion, which theoretically at least kept the contest alive – but Warriors weren’t in any mood to further loosen their grip on the game.

It took some great defensive work from Embrose Papier, Bulls’ replacement scrum-half, to prevent Gregor Brown from getting the ball down over the line, then Cancelliere launched another promising attack up the left touchline, but a careless fumble by Jordan meant that opportunity came to nothing as well.

And when Bulls had another opportunity on the right, Cancelliere got back superbly to tackle Stedman Gans into touch five yards from the line, and then a brilliant counter-ruck bang in front of the Warriors posts earned another turnover a few minutes later.

It looked like the home team scored their sixth try when George Turner hacked a loose ball forward twice and Cancelliere was first to the ball as it bobbled in the in-goal area, but referee Brace was again referred it to the TMO who ruled that there had been an obstruction by Warriors replacement Sintu Manjezi at the start of that passage of play.

Janko Swanepol got over for a consolation score towards the end.



Teams –

Glasgow Warriors: McKay; S Cancelliere, S Tuipulotu, S Johnson, C Forbes (A Price 56); T Jordan (D Miotti. 66), G Horne; J Bhatti (N McBeth 64), F Brown (G Turner 53), Z Fagerson (L Sordoni 64), S Cummings (JP du Preez 74), R Gray (S Manjezi 53), G Brown (R Wilson 66), T Gordon, M Fagerson.

Bulls: K Arendse; C Hendricks (W Simelane. 71), L Maple, D Kriel, S Gans; C Smith (M Steyn 69), Z Burger (E Papier 53); G Steenkamp (S Matanzima 53), J Wessels (D Du Plessis 53), F Klopper (M Smith 53), W Steenkamp (J Swanepoel, 66), R Nortje, M Coetzee, M van Staden, E Louw (R Ludwig 66).

Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)


Scorers – 

Glasgow Warriors: Tries: Fagerson, Cancelliere, Cummings, Horne, McKay; Cons: Horne 5.

Bulls: Tries: Arendse, Du Plessis,, Swanepoel; Con: Smith 2, Steyn.

Scoring sequence (Glasgow Warriors first): 5-0; 7-0; 12-0; 14-0; 14-5; 14-7; 19-7; 21-7; 26-7; 28-7 (h-t) 33-7; 35-7; 35-12; 34-14; 35-19; 35-21.

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About David Barnes 3995 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. Looking back again to Glasgows’s 35-21 win against Bulls and with Matt Fagerson’s opening try, I noticed that URC made error in its system. That URC system twice included Matt’s six-minute try.

    Glasgow had six tries, but the URC system shows seven tries – including that Matt “double”!

    Looking into the URC system, I have found that that “double” was far from alone. The URC’s past four weekends have hit more than 70% on on that “double”.

    I hope that URC can sort that “double” – soon!

  2. What a turn up – Horne and Tuipulotu both had best performance I’ve seen in a Glasgow jersey – the inconsistency is puzzling. Great at home awful away. As people have said the next few weeks will be telling. Edinburgh looked really tired on Friday following the SA trip.

    • I’ve always been a Horne fan, but to me the two good Glasgow performances this season have been very much down to George Horne. Can’t say I’ve been impressed with Price recently.

  3. In here to eat humble pie. After last weeks performance this came right out the blue. Never saw this coming and happy to be proved wrong for my proclamation of doom and gloom.

    if only this level of intensity can be reproduced every week. The difference in attitude was transferred to the crowd and Scotstoun was back to being a happy place, first time I’ve spilt my beer since Finn and Nico in their pomp.

    Franco Smith does need to ensure the energised rather than the disinterested Warriors turn up every week. This level of intensity and effort needs to be the minimum for a player to pull on the jersey.

    The next few weeks will be a good yardstick. Away from home at 30+ oC will not allow harum scarum rugby for 80 mins, we will need to be controlled, disciplined and organised. Can we have the same level of effort against a big pack and speedy backs in these conditions two weeks running. Time will tell.

  4. I’m beginning to get lost for words over Glasgow’s performances, last week against Ospreys they were awful. I was fully expecting a tanking from the Bulls this week , but no they were the Glasgow almost of old.They were to a man fully involved in the game, there was support running, directed physicality, and an energy utterly lacking last week.Great game again from Horne Jnr and M Fagerson but everyone played their part. Only negative was the scrum with the staring forwards was a bit week , improved when McBeth and Sordoni came on.

  5. Great to see another powerful and skilful win at Scotstoun – need to get the consistency though and next two weeks away in SA a great place to start – wins would be great but would be happy with a similar level of performance and BPs to maintain some momentum.

  6. Amazing to see George Horne so rejuvenated, I really thought he’d end up a bit of an unfulfilled talent but seems to be coming into his game again and playing with confidence.

    I did not expect this result at all and if anything the score line flattered the Bulls. If Glasgow can snap their away hoo-doo they could make this season quite interesting. Starting to look like Glasgow again.

  7. Wow – what a performance – didn’t think they were remotely capable of this based on recent results. The forwards were outstanding with a level of aggressiveness and abrasiveness I haven’t seen from Glasgow for a long time. Their defence at close quarters was outstanding and some great counter rucking putting the Bulls under pressure. The backs were pretty good too with Horne brilliant and Cancelliere real class.

    This should give the players real confidence and I hope this can turn round Glasgows season. They now have 2 games in South Africa and so no better place to prove this is no flash in the pan although will be tough.

  8. Tremendous 1st half, Sam Johnson set the tone with a powerful break into the heart of the Bulls defence.
    Tom Jordan is learning on the job and seems to be improving in leaps and bounds.
    Matt Fagerson especially but the whole forward line were brilliant as they comprehensively bullied the Bulls.
    Wonderful sleight of hand by Ritchie Gray set up a try.
    G.Horne must be close to starting v Argentina on this form (kicking a real plus).
    Tuipulotu played very well with a few nice kicks, reaL pity Josh McKay isn’t SQ.
    Next Saturday will be a very interesting watch will the away Glasgow return?

  9. George Horne, what a talent, but place kicking, to the manner born 🏉😲😀👍
    Well done Glasgow, a great advertisement for Scottish rugger 😀

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