Glasgow Warriors 7
AFTER a promising start which saw them take the lead midway through the first half, Glasgow fell victim to a familiar failing at the DHL Stadium in Cape Town. Not for the first time this season, they were simply unable to summon up the mental energy to stay the pace against talented opponents. As a result, their hopes of a home quarter-final in the URC play-offs are now in serious doubt.
With two games of the regular season to go – away to the Bulls and then Edinburgh – Danny Wilson’s side may need points from both if they are to end up in the league’s leading quartet and thus have a home quarter-final. If they finish in fifth to eighth place they will be on the road in the last eight, which could mean a return to South Africa. And that, on the evidence of this game, is something they will very much want to avoid.
“We need to go and take points now from the Bulls game,” Wilson said. “We’ve been top four all season and knew that these last three games were going to be huge.”
Kyle Steyn left the field early with an achilles injury, while Sam Johnson damaged an ankle in the second half. It is not yet known how bad either injury is, but, while the loss of those two backs did not help the Warriors’ cause, Wilson did not try to make excuses after another match in which his team faded badly.
“It’s a common theme,” the head coach added. “We struggled with a little bit of adversity and made too many errors – that’s the cycle that we now need to break. We’ve been good for 40 minutes in most games; second halves haven’t been as good. It is definitely something that we need to look at.”
They need to do more than look at it: they need to solve it if they are to become serious contenders for honours either in the league or in the Challenge Cup, where they face a demanding quarter-final away to Lyon.
The slow collapse here was all the more disappointing given the enterprising nature of their play in the first quarter, which saw Glasgow open the scoring after Ross Thompson sent a penalty to touch. Their maul went nowhere, but the ball came back inside, and, after Rory Darge was held up on the line, Jack Dempsey forced his way over from a metre out.
The Stormers looked stunned by that reverse for a time, but eventually got off the mark thanks to a flying tackle from Rikus Pretorius on Thompson. The Glasgow stand-off was penalised for holding on, and Manie Libbok was on target this time from 35 metres out.
It was a score that energised the South Africans, who took the lead on their next attack. A line0out maul gained good ground, then full-back Damian Willemse drifted across field from the left wing before putting Pretorius through with a smartly-timed pass.
Libbok converted, then added a penalty in the closing minute of the half after Johnson had strayed offside. It was a disappointing end to the first 40 for Glasgow given how well they had played in the first 20, but in truth they were lucky to be only 13-7 adrift, as Libbok had knocked-on close to the line just before his penalty.
With Warrick Gelant on at full-back and controlling play with some expertly-judged kicks, the momentum was still with the home side in the early stages of the second half. They had to wait patiently all the same for further scores, but then two came in quick succession to put the game beyond the visitors.
Scrum-half Herschel Jantjies got the first of them, finishing off a counter-attack in which openside Hacjivah Dayimani sliced through the Glasgow defence with embarrassing ease. Dayimani was involved in the second try as well, providing the link between Gelant and winger Leolin Zas, who touched down on the left. With Libbok converting the second try, that put the Stormers 18 points ahead.
Ollie Smith stopped the deficit from growing further with a try-saving tackle on Jantjies, but that was an isolated positive moment as the Warriors lost their shape and their composure. Things got worse for them when Josh McKay was sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle on Ruan Nel, and after that the hope of claiming a losing bonus point was gone, to be replaced by damage limitation.
The Stormers had a bonus point of their own to chase, and they got it with seconds to spare when Evan Roos weaved his way through three defenders to touch down on the left. Libbok’s conversion ended the match.
Stormers: D Willemse; S Senatla (B Dixon 72), R Nel, R Pretorius (W Gelant 41), L Zas; M Libbok, H Jantjies (P de Wet 69); S Kitshoff (capt, A Vermaak 63), S Ntubeni (J Kotze 50), F Malherbe (B Harris 63), A Smith (S Moerat 55), M Orie, J Pokomela (N Xaba 64), H Dayimani, E Roos.
Glasgow Warriors: O Smith; J McKay, S Tuipulotu, S Johnson (J Dobie 60), K Steyn (C Forbes 16); R Thompson (D Weir 63), A Price (capt); O Kebble (J Bhatti 49), J Matthews (G Turner 58), Z Fagerson (S Berghan 65), R Gray, K McDonald (R Harley 48), A Miller, R Darge (T Gordon 78), J Dempsey.
Referee: A Brace (Ireland).
Stormers: Tries: Pretorius, Jantjies, Zas, Roos. Cons: Libbok 3. Pens: Libbok 2.
Glasgow: Try: Dempsey. Con: Thompson.
Scoring sequence (Stormers first): 0-5, 0-7, 3-7, 8-7, 10-7, 13-7 half-time, 18-7, 20-7, 25-7, 30-7, 32-7.
Yellow card –
Glasgow: McKay (68 mins).
- The Offside Line’s coverage of Glasgow Warriors is powered by McCrea Financial Services.
- McCrea Financial Services sponsor Glasgow Warriors and provide a wide range of financial advisory services including mortgage, pension and retirement planning advice. See www.mccreafs.co.uk to contact them for more information.