URC: Glasgow v Stormers: Warriors win but second half slump means no bonus point

Franco Smith's side fail to capitalise on a 10 minute spell against 13 men

Johnny Matthews scored two tries for Glasgow Warriors against the Stormers. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Johnny Matthews scored two tries for Glasgow Warriors against the Stormers. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Glasgow Warriors 20

DHL Stormers 9

DAVID BARNES @ Scotstoun Stadium

IT was a game of two halves. The first was vaguely entertaining with three home tries, two visiting yellow-cards and plenty of intent. The second was a snore-fest, with Warriors initially failing to capitalise on their numerical advantage and then struggling to break out their own half against a committed but uninspired Stormers side.

Even when they did manage to regain a foothold during the final quarter, Warriors’ attack lacked punch and variety, and they failed to work through enough phases to really challenge the Stormers’ defence.

Still, a win is a win, and not to be sniffed at against a team who arrived at Scotstoun as URC table-toppers. Their defensive resolve was impressive and their set-piece was dominated, although Warriors will be kicking themselves for not picking up a bonus point their commanding half-time position suggested was going to be a formality.

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“Look, this is a quality team we played so we know they are going to fight back in the second half, and I think the physical effort they put in tonight showed because they won most of the collisions, ” said Warriors head coach Franco Smith. “They are well prepared and they are a good team, which we knew before the game.

“Where we are in the season with the number of players we are bleeding in, it was important to play both sides of the ball tonight. We fought well when we had to without the ball and there was some very good opportunities created in the first half.

“Of course we would always like the best of everything, and I think the players know that even in the last action when we turned it over five yards out there was still opportunity for us to go to the width and see if we can score, so the opportunities were there [to get the bonus-point] but we just didn’t take them, which is understandable at the beginning of the season.”

Warriors started in lively fashion. A trademark burst from Johnny Matthews produced quick ball, and Stafford McDowall sensed the Stormers blitz defence had cut off is passing options so he launched a lovely cross-kick which Sebastian Cancelliere – who missed last week’s game because he was attending the birth of his first child – will feel he should have gathered in acres of space. The right winger almost made amends a few minutes later with a searing break, but this time his offload to George Horne didn’t go to hand.

Instead, it was the visitors who drew first blood with a penalty from the extravagantly named Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu awarded against Ollie Smith for holding on.

Warriors struck back almost immediately with by advantage of Feinberg-Mngomezulu fumbling the restart to set up camp inside the visitors’ 22, and from a solid scrum platform, Sione Tuipulotu cut a devastating line off a beautifully delayed pass off McDowall at first receiver to dart under the posts.

An Oli Kebble offside allowed Feinberg-Mngomezulu to kick another three points, but once again Warriors pressurised the restart, withHorne doing brilliantly to charge down Feinberg-Mngomezulu’s clearance and win his team the sort of close-range line-out which Johnny Matthews lives for. As sure as night follows day, the prolific hooker took control of the ball at the back of the maul and helped himself to his 26th try in 53 appearances for the club.

After an exchange of penalties between Horne and Feinberg-Mngomezulu, Stormers lost their discipline and consequently two forwards to the sin-bin inside the space of 60 seconds, with flanker Evan Roos seeing yellow for a judo throw on Matt Fagerson yards away from the breakdown, and hooker Joseph Dweba soon joining him for a tip-tackle on Greg Peterson.

Warriors kicked that penalty to the corner and Matthews – who else? – scurried off the back of the maul to bring the curtain down on the half with his second try of the evening, and his 27th of his Warriors career.


Glasgow were ragged at the start of the second half with their eagerness to capitalise on that two man advantage leading to drift in focus, summed up by Zander Fagerson‘s clumsy fumble inside the Stormers’ 22 after a series of one-out carries had gone nowhere.

Buoyed by surviving that yellow-card period with no further loss of points, the Stormers dominated the next 10 minutes, and the South Africans will be kicking themselves that they opted to scrum a Sione Vailanu offside penalty right under the Warriors posts, only to have tight-head Neethling Fouché penalised for driving across.

Still Warriors couldn’t escape their half, and apart from a brilliant penalty won over the tackled man by Vailanu, there was little for the Scotstoun faithful to get excited about. The home side desperately needed a spark, which Horne came close to providing when he broke from the base and scuttled into opposition territory, but Warrick Gelant and Leolin Zas did well to tidy up the scrum-half’s chip ahead.

That was the catalyst to a slightly brighter spell for Warriors, and they were frustrated when referee Chris Busby spotted a knock-on during the move leading to Cancellere finding himself in space on the right, although the Argentinean winger still had a fair bit of work to do.

Alas, that’s as exciting as it got. The game fizzled out with no scoring at all in the second half.


Teams –

Glasgow Warriors : O Smith; S Cancelliere, S Tuipulotu, S McDowall, K Rowe; T Jordan (D Weir 63), G Horne (J Dobie 77); O Kebble (J Bhatti, 50), J Matthews (A Fraser 77), Z Fagerson (L Sordoni 63), G Peterson (A Samuel 77), R Gray (S Cummings 50), G M Fagerson, R Darge, S Vialanu (H Venter 72).

Stormers: W Gelant; A Davids (A Venter 44-48), B Loader, S Feinberg-Mngomezulu, L Zas; J du Plessis (C Blommetjies. 65), H Jantjies (S Ungerer 75); A Vermaak (L Gqoboka 49-78), J Dweba (A Venter 60), N Fouche (B Harris 67), B Dixon, R van Heerden (G Porter 49), W Engelbrecht (M Theunissen 49), E Roos, K Morabe (A Smith 49).

Referee: Chris Busby


Scorers –

Glasgow Warriors: Tries: Tuipulotu, Matthews 2; Con: Horne 3; Pen: Horne.

Stormers: Pen: Feinberg-Mngomezulu 3.

Scoring sequence (Glasgow Warriors first): 0-3; 5-3; 7-3; 7-6; 12-6; 15-6; 15-9; 20-9 (h-t)


Yellow cards –

Stormers: Roos (38 mins), Dweba (39 mins)


Attendance: 6,191

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About David Barnes 4026 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. Thought the referee was excellent in thus game. All too often the referees get plenty of stick but I thought Dunlop handled the game very well.

  2. 77 min for Peterson and 3 for Samuel. How is that in Scotland’s long term interests?? We really hate the idea of letting our young players get a sniff of rugby before the age of 30. On the topic of veterans though I’d have to say Weir has been excellent every time so far. It won’t happen but I’d have him covering 10 for 6N rather than the other options. Is Ross Thompson allowed to play big boy rugby again or is he still on the naughty step with the plastic S6 nonsense??

    • Totally agree with this. Glasgow now have 11 NSQ players in the squad what is the point of this. Some in the same position. Scotland defo looking to the future

      • Disappointed at number of NSQ players, particularly as the vast majority are journeymen. With only 2 Scottish Pro teams onus should be on SQ professional players with a smaller number of NSQ players of real quality.

    • Theres a time to bring in youngsters to give experience and other times where you keep the best players on the field. In a tight game against a team that have been in the final and won the league the past 2 seasons, and will likely be challenging again, i think its fair to keep the experience on, that win could define our placement come end of season.

      I notice you did not give any praise when the likes of Angus Fraser, Alex Samuel, Gregor Brown and Jamie Dobie all started or had plenty of game-time against Leinster, same with the Connacht game, whats up with that? At least be consistent with your foolish arguments.

    • Samuel will get his chances. Just as Smith, Jordan, Ferrie, Fraser, Dobie have and will continue to to have.

      Thompson has been out for a long time. I am surprised he hasn’t had more games at S6 level to get up to speed. Not sure what is going on with him.

  3. Disappointing not to get a bonus point
    last night but 9 points in 2 games vs Leinster and Stormers, that has to be good news!

  4. Strange second half as others have said – trying too hard almost panicking when against 13 when steady % rugby would find the space eventually – but credit to Stormers as that was their best 10 mins of the game.

    I can’t workout whether there isn’t a plan B with a rush defence, or we just aren’t executing it or getting through enough phases with it without losing possession – hopefully the former!

    Still – a good win against a very physical side, yes light in their internationals, but like Leinster they have fantastic depth of squad. Defence was solid second half. Some good performances throughout the team, but like Sonsie would like to see Kebble perform to his potential… or see Bhatti start.

    Need to win in the road next week v Ospreys to stop any travel woes developing, then the ever improving Benetton. 4 from 5 would be a good start considering the schedule.

  5. I think I detect a pattern here with Glasgow, play for a while establish a lead then go to sleep and let the defense take the strain. Mostly it seems to work , last week against Connaught it did not. Still a good win against a really tough physical SA side.
    Good games from Vialanu , Tuipulotu, and of course Matthews. You gotta love the guy he could overtake Seymour and Hogg as top try scorer at this rate. I don’t think the Stormers had a try in them against us , but also I think they figured us out in the 2nd half even with 13 men and were in our faces with line speed and ferocious tackles. We seem to lack a plan B or even C to cope with this and keep our open running game going.

  6. Funny game with flashes of real quality and excellent defence intertwined with some pedestrian rugby.
    The missed Jordan kick to the corner was a big point in the game, 7 points there would’ve seen a real momentum shift, Jordan became conservative after that.
    Indeed Weir looked a very assured kicking option latterly.
    Is Ross Thompson doesn’t return 100% soon? Glasgow shoild be looking to recruit a 10. (Maybe Fin Smith should’ve been recruited)
    The 2 stupid yellow cards sapped the momentum out of the whole game.
    Darge, Matthews did well. Keeble has always frustrated me, seems to have the lot to be a destructive prop but rarely displays this potential.

  7. Silver lining to Scotlands earlier than desired exit from RWC. Glasgow have now faced two for the big guns in the league stripped of their internationals.Maybe slipped the bonus point but that is still two in the bag that most other teams will struggle to match.
    Onwards and upwards.

  8. Reasonably comfortable win for Glasgow, but should have been even more so had George Horne not been goal-kicking like a drain – despite contrastingly accurate box kicks form the scrum base – and Tom Jordan been so unambitious with his kicks to touch, despite over-doing it once. It took the veteran Duncan Weir to come in and show how it should be done – so much more assured off the boot, getting his distances spot-on. Perhaps a Mngomezulu dawn for the Saffers, with their young lad perfect off the tee from long range. Certainly more convincing than Libbock in that respect.

    Glasgow will have tougher gigs ahead that this and most encouraging was their stubborn defence, which refused to yield a single try against the previously free-scoring Capetonians. The Weegies might have lost Steyn, but they still have a a real asset in Rowe. He has pace to burn and I suspect a great season stretches ahead of him given the golden chance he now has to shine.

    Still wondering what Kebble adds to the team. He is a useless, clumsy lump who commits infringements with gay and unwitting abandon. Another sub-standard import who should never have won a single Scotland cap. What were we thinking?!

    • Agree about Kebble – for a giant of a man he has never had that hard physical edge that you want from a prop. His line out maul defence is laughable on occasions.

      • It’s a real shame, because the big hole in Scottish rugby is our inability to produce props. As a result we import second and third rate South Africans to fill the void (plus occasional gems like Nel and Schoo). Last season not one of the ten on Edinburgh’s books was born in Scotland. Glasgow fares better and hopefully young Walker will follow in Zander’s footsteps at tight head. On the loose Bhatti is a much better performer – if not perfect – than Kebble ever will be and while young Macbeth joined from overseas he likewise looks to be far more the definite article. I know some folk won’t like me saying this, but eyes wide open and without any tinted shades on it is undoubtedly the truth. Let’s not bury our heads here.

  9. Always take a win against the Stormers who are a very physical side. A strange game with no points in the second half. Probably the only negative was not getting the bonus point particularly during the 10 minutes at the start of the 2nd half when they had 2 players in the bin and Glasgow played far too frantically rather than just keeping hold of the ball and working the phases.

    The back row were all good and Mathews of course was his usual bucaneering self. In the backs I thought the half backs were better than last week and after criticising George Horne for his poor kicking, I think he had one of the best kicking games I have ever seen from him with every box kick properly contestable.

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