URC: Glasgow v Sharks: Warriors fail to land bonus point after scoreless second half

There were injuries too to Johnny Matthews and Oli Kebble

Max Williamson scores againts Sharks © Craig Watson

Glasgow Warriors 21

Sharks 10

GRAEME MACPHERSON @ Scotstoun Stadium

SUCH is the level of expectation around Scotstoun these days that even a victory can sometimes still feel somewhat unsatisfactory.

That was the overriding sentiment on this occasion as Glasgow saw off an understrength Sharks side to push temporarily closer to Leinster at the top of the United Rugby Championship table but not with any real conviction, substance or pizazz.

Franco Smith’s side didn’t register a single point in a scrappy second period, that failure to add to first-half scores from George Horne, Max Williamson and Kyle Steyn ending up costing them a bonus point.


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That could yet prove costly come the final totting-up, with Warriors now set to hit the road for their next three matches before coming home for one final regular season game against Zebre.

Injuries to Johnny Matthews and Oli Kebble – on briefly for his 100th appearance – also added to Smith’s evident sense of frustration, his mood not a huge surprise given his side’s error-strewn, ill-disciplined performance that manifested itself in the first half yellow-card shown to Scott Cummings for repeat team offences.

“I’m always happy with a win,” he said, although not entirely convincingly. “We get spoilt here at Scotstoun now – even the atmosphere in the changing room was one of opportunities missed. That’s good, but if you win every game you will not lose, so we’ll take it from that perspective.

“I said before the game that the Sharks would be tough to beat. Especially in the second part of the game they brought on some good players and their line speed in defence troubled us.

“That’s one of the big learnings we take out of this – if teams change the way they defend against us, we need to be able to adapt.”

Warriors head next to Parma for the first of two games against bottom side Zebre and Smith hoped the ankle injuries sustained by Kebble and Matthews wouldn’t prove too serious.

He added: “It was a disappointing finish to [Johnny’s] and Oli’s nights, but it doesn’t look that bad. From where we sit now, there are still seven or eight weeks, still time for these guys to get back.

“Hopefully that’s not that serious. Let’s let the medical team do their job and we will have a better idea on Monday.”

 

 

The first half wasn’t seamless either from Glasgow but they did at least cross the line three times.

Sharks, even without most of their Springboks, rested for their looming Challenge Cup semi-final against Clermont, still proved a formidable defensive force at times before Warriors found a way to break them down.

Horne was the creator of the first and third tries. His quickly-taken tap penalty allowed him to wriggle his way past, and under, some behemoth defenders to stretch for the line. His conversion was one of three successful kicks.

The second try was more of a team effort. Facundo Cordero started the move after fetching Tom Jordan’s poor pass, weaving his way beyond a couple of defenders before finding Zander Fagerson. On it went to Jack Dempsey who swivelled and offloaded to Willamson whose momentum carried him over the line.

It was Steyn who claimed the third score with the clock in the red in the first half. Horne’s alacrity again made the difference, teeing up Sione Tuipulotu whose run was repelled, before then feeding his captain who powered over the line.

Warriors, though, didn’t have it all their own way. Sharks took advantage of Cummings’ dismissal to land their first score through Dan Jooste who continued his forward momentum after the maul had splintered.

The visitors never really looked like they had enough about them to go on to snatch a victory but did make it more nervy towards the end when they scored again in the second half through Ntutchuko Mchunu, the only points of a messy second half.

“When you go 21-5 down and you’re a proud team like the Sharks, it’s always expected that they will fight back hard,” added Smith.

“It wasn’t just us – they put us under a lot of pressure, both in the set-piece and with their line speed in defence. That forced us into errors.

“It’s uncommon from some of the players to make some of those errors, so it’s important to take those learnings into next week.

 

Teams –

Glasgow Warriors: K Rowe, K Steyn, S Tuipulotu, S McDowall, F Cordero, T Jordan (R Thompson 60), G Horne (J Dobie 75) ; N McBeth (O Kebble 55), J Matthews (G Hiddleston 52), Z Fagerson (L Sordoni 55), M Williamson (S Manjezi 66), S Cummings, M Fagerson (A Miller 73), H Venter, J Dempsey (T Gordon 55)

Sharks: B Chamberlain, E Keyter, M Koster (E Hooker 58), F Venter, A Dyantyi, C Bosch (S Masuku 48), G Williams (C Wright 69); N Mchunu (F Mona 55), D Jooste (F Mbatha 41), H Jacobs (V Koch 55), C Rahl (E van Heerden 64), G Grobler, T Mavesere, L Labuschagne (V Tshituka 54), N Hatton

Referee: Federico Vedovellli (FIR)

 

Scorers –

Glasgow: Tries: Horne. Williamson, Steyn; Cons: Horne 3.

Sharks: Tries: Jooste, McHunu.

Scoring sequence (Glasgow first): 0-5; 0-7; 0-12; 0-14; 5-14; 5-19; 5-21 (h-t) 10-21.

 

Yellow cards –

Glasgow: Cummings (36 mins)

 

Attendance: 7,216


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About Graeme Macpherson 42 Articles
Graeme Macpherson is a freelance sports writer who covers rugby for a number of outlets.

16 Comments

  1. Last night was disappointing, I admit. Clearly teams have worked out how to defend our driving lineout maul but that happens to any winning team, their strengths are analysed and attacked. We are still (for the moment) 2nd in the league abd while there is still a long way to go I would be rather be in 2nd than 7th or 8th which is where we’ve been in the recent past.

  2. Shocked by Dobie’s (fresh on and an occasional winger) lack of pace to take the final chance jn the corner. Looked like we had snatched the BP at the death but no finish.

    • Yeah, my first thought was he’d pulled something, then I thought maybe he’s slowed down to let the support catch-up, then I was thinking why didnt he chip the ball over towards the posts and then finally why didnt he back himself and try to slide in.

  3. My pointless opinion:
    Sione and Stafford don’t work well together. Teams have worked out our maul. Johnny Matthews isn’t test standard. Kinghorne was a better experiment at 10 than Jordan. McKay is by far our best FB. Our replacement front row never makes a mark. Matt Fagerson is a better at 8 than openside.Dicipline is terrible. Turns out Wilson is a good coach after all so why haven’t questions been asked of Caloran and Murchie as it’s all too predictable now.

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    • I agree that Sione and Stafford haven’t yet really clicked as a centre pairing. But they’re both quality players and it’s got to just be a matter of time. Sione still coming back from his injury too. Kind of agree on the maul also. Jordan pretty decent as a back up 10 option but he’s not the top quality starting fly half we desperately need. I’m not convinced that the answer is Adam H coming back – but would love to be proved very wrong!
      On the plus side, Lions have done us a favour thumping a second string Leinster team in SA. If only we’d got the BP last night we’d now be joint top of the table!

  4. It’s funny not getting the bonus point feels like a loss. Not sure what went wrong in the 2nd half , the Sharks were certainly resolute in defense, but luckily not great in attack. They are certainly a physical side and in the 2nd half we struggled against that physicality. However I thought some of the tackles around the ruck area of players not actively involved in the ruck was worthy of Munster at their best, not sure what the ref was looking at but to me it was ridiculous. Not vintage Glasgow but a wins a win, just glad they did not bring their Big Bok players. Hope Mathews is OK he did not look good nor Kebble for that matter, don’t think we will see them next week.

    • Agree with the issue with players being taken out when not actively involved in a ruck. Its become the latest big problem in law interpretation and referees need to take a consistent position on it because its not being well reffed at the moment with some teams really pushing the boundary. It is also cleverly used by some teams on try line pick and gos where supporting defenders get taken out of the ball to clear space for the ball carrier. Munster/Leinster are good at this but not sure its always legal.

  5. i wouldn’t overplay this being a 2nd string Sharks team. They have massive depth particularly in the forwards and still had Williams and Koch on the pitch as well as many regular starters through the season. They defended well and particularly rushed up in the outside channels which shut Glasgow down. Glasgow clearly weren’t at their best but still a win. The 2 games in SA will be critical to securing a top 2 finish and maybe Munster can take something from the Bulls today which will help. Worryingly was the sight of Mathews an Kebble hobbling off. Our squad is already thinly spread so this won’t help.

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  6. Strangely disjointed game for the Warriors, again we struggled again a robust defence and seem to get sucked into their game of one on one against bigger opposition (who did push the offside line but got away with it). We seemed to get more success with a few wee grubbers first half that went missing in the second? If the Sharks backs had caught their simple passes, it could/should have been a lot closer.

    Not sure what our penalty count was, but it couldn’t have been pretty – inconsistent refereeing just made it more frustrating.

    Need a better showing in Zebre next week to build some momentum before SA trip.

    Hope that the injuries aren’t bad, as the list is big enough already and that Dempsey is ok (looked very uncomfortable going off at HT).

  7. Strangely disjointed game for the Warriors, again we struggled again a robust defence and seem to get sucked into their game of one on one against bigger opposition (who did push the offside line but got away with it). We seemed to get more success with a few wee grubbers first half that went missing in the second? If the Sharks backs had caught their simple passes, it could/should have been a lot closer.

    Not sure what our penalty count was, but it couldn’t have been pretty – inconsistent refereeing just made it more frustrating.

    Need a better showing in Zebre next week to build some momentum before SA trip.

    Hope that the injuries aren’t bad, as the list is big enough already and that Dempsey is ok (looked very uncomfortable going off at HT).

  8. Let’s turn this around for a wee reality check.
    What if Glasgow had changed all XV players and travelled away to a full strength Sharks, would this be the score? I know I hypothesise but Glasgow rugger as we know it suggests the Sharks would win at a canter, bonus point secured?
    This was a huge opportunity missed, don’t blame the ref, but keep that missed bonus point in mind at season end 🤔

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    • Here is completely different starting XV to the one which started yesterday (assuming all squad fit, as Sharks only have a few injuries atm).

      Oli Smith – Sebastian Canceliere – Huw Jones – Duncan Munn – Josh McKay – Duncan Weir – Jamie Dobie – Sione Vailanu – Rory Darge – Gregor Brown – Richie Gray – JP Du Preez – Lucio Sordoni – George Turner – Jamie Bhatti.

      Doubt Sharks winning at a canter against that side tbh. There full strength side beat a poor Edinburgh side by 6 points at home last weekend. Would not surprise me if the above side pulled off a victory.

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  9. Awful to watch, stop start. Refereeing questionable at best but Glasgow made it too easy for him to give penalties and after the original 1-3 went off the scrum was a liability. Very sad we were unable to put the bonus point to bed. I thought we looked more vulnerable than we have in most games this season. On this evidence the SA trip is going to be very tough.

  10. I also thought that Franco was trying to put a positive spin on a home win after the game. This Sharks team were (though resolute in defence in the 2nd half) very limited in their attacking play and we may come to regret the missing bonus point that was there for the taking. We were too sloppy, inaccurate and error strewn in the 2nd half and our limited variety of plays at 10 just wasn’t cutting it. Would have like to have seen Thomson with a longer stint at 10 to see if he could have made a difference.

    There were some decent individual performances tonight (Dempsey was great and Horne typically lively) but the team didn’t click. Without wanting to sound too negative, if we continue to play like that, our season is all but over already. I hope that this was a blip though as we tailed off badly at the end of last season.

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  11. The referee was very inconsistent. Allowed the Sharks to be constantly offside in the 2nd half which put Glasgow under extra pressure and didn’t yellow card the Sharks at the start of the 2nd half after more penalties given away on their 22 when he gave a yellow card to Cummings after less penalties and dare I say less serious ones as well. Glasgow would have won that by another 2-3 tries if he’d been consistent.

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    • It was the same in the Edinburgh game, in the first attack, Scarlets were all off side at the ruck …

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