URC Grand Final: Bulls v Glasgow: Warriors player ratings

Huge shifts across the board but Jack Dempsey is picked out as the TOL's stand-out performer

Glasgow Warriors stand-off Tom Jordan picked up a late yellow-card but made a big contribution generally against Vodacom Bulls in the URC Grand Final. Image: Inpho/URC
Glasgow Warriors stand-off Tom Jordan picked up a late yellow-card but made a big contribution generally against Vodacom Bulls in the URC Grand Final. Image: Inpho/URC

15. Josh McKay  – 8

Fantastic footwork in returning Bulls’ kicks. Beautiful quick hands to set up Kyle Steyn down the left wing in the second half. Brilliant handling under pressure leading up to Huw Jones’ try. A real ball player – when does he qualify for Scotland again? [Devon Williams 8]

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14. Sebastian Cancelliere – 8

Phenomenal under his the high ball and good early involvements ball in hand, but shot up early in a defensive set which opened the door for Peterson leading to the Bulls’ second penalty points. Key intercept and superb running. This guy beats defenders for fun. Makes you wonder why he was replaced late in the game!? [Sergeal Petersen 8]

13. Huw Jones – 7

Passed the ball to no one when in a good attacking position but stayed in the game and was quick enough to make the cover tackle. Covered the ball well when it was falling, following a Bulls kick. Fantastic defensive cover tackle after Williams break near half-time. Finished off a vital try after great handling from McKay and Jordan. Excellent turnover late in the game (although that was negated by Jordan’s yellow card). [David Kriel 8]

12. Sione Tuipulotu – 7

Good carrying and even better game-management, putting through smart kicks to keep the defence guessing.  He didn’t maybe catch the eye especially but he did the dirty work with no complaint. [Harold Vorster 7]

11. Kyle Steyn – 8

Great attacking running late in the first half, shrugging off two defenders he had no right to beat; he just needed to hold onto the ball a bit tighter! He does glide with the ball in hand. The skipper also made great efforts at regaining Horne’s box kicks, with considerable success. Managed a tricky referee well and led Glasgow Warriors to their best result of the professional era … by a margin. [Kurt-Lee Arendse 7]



10. Tom Jordan – 7

Passed behind his team-mates which stunted Glasgow’s attack once or twice, and didn’t make Huw Jones look good when he ran the wrong dummy line. Knocked on a super chip from George Horne, which wasn’t easy but his team could’ve done with,  and the Kiwi 10 earned himself a yellow card in the dying moments giving the Bulls some hope but his aggression in defence rubbed off on his colleagues. He showed beautiful handling to gift Steyn his try in the second half. [Johan Goosen 7]

9. George Horne – 8

Good energy around the park and strong box-kicking throughout the game. Made his tackles and kicked his kicks, well, most of them. An outstanding performance from Glasgow’s diminutive nine. [Embrose Papier 7]



1 Jamie Bhatti – 7

Powerless to stop Devon Williams’ first half break and struggled manfully in the set scrums but tackled his heart out before being replaced early in the second half. A great season for the loosehead. [Gerhard Steenekamp 7]

2. Johnny Matthews – 6

Struggled from time to time with arrows and fell off a crucial tackle to gift the Bulls their only try but never took a backward step in open play. [Johan Grobbelaar 7]

3. Zander Fagerson – 8

Struggled in the early scrums, much to Glasgow fans’ consternation, but recovered to play the full 80 minutes and make a huge contribution to this victory on both sides of the ball. Is there another tight-head on the planet who can play 80 minutes, at altitude, against the Bulls (having played 80 minutes against both Munster and the Stormers during the last fortnight)? Helped hold Wilco Louw up, over the line, in the first half. Awesome! [Wilco Louw 8]

4. Richie Gray – 7

A quiet(ish) game for the big man who still managed a huge defensive turn in that first half when the Bulls had the ball and the wind at their backs (metaphorically speaking). Gave way in the third quarter. [Ruan Vermaak 6]

5.  Scott Cummings – 8

Carried well early with smart running lines and made a real nuisance of himself in a couple opposition line-outs, creeping round the corner well. You could well argue that his try late in the first half changed the whole momentum of the game. Glasgow suddenly realised they could compete with the Bulls physically and they grew arms and legs in the second half. Cummings is growing into the real deal. [Ruan Nortje 7]

6. Matt Fagerson – 8

Great disruption to Bulls line-out near half-time and made superb back-to-back carries in the lead up to the Cummings game changing try immediately before the break. Conceded the occasional penalty but for the best of reasons, various attempts to disrupt the opposition. A workaholic 80 minutes from Scotland’s finest flanker. [Marco van Staden 6]

7. Rory Darge – 6

Targeted the ball (to no avail) on a crucial five-metre defensive set ahead of the Bulls’ first try. He helped hold up the Louw ‘try’ which was a key moment. Hustled well around the park but he is still operating within his awesome capabilities. [Elrigh Louw 6]

8. Jack Dempsey – 9

Gave away an early penalty to give the Bulls a 3-0 lead after 90 seconds but carried well after. Provided much needed go-forward whilst other teammates preferred to run sideways. Picked up a dropped ball and ran in from 60 metres to score a try only to see it overruled by a tough call from the referee. Showed great pace and determination in the attempt nonetheless. Man-of-the-match (unofficial) performance. [Cameron Hanekom 6]



Replacements –

16. George Turner – 8

Tackled like a maniac and scored a key try. Given his impact around the park, we can forgive his one wayward dart. A memorable final outing for the Warriors … presuming he doesn’t return!

17. Nathan McBeth – 7

A very solid shift from the loose-head, although he was the unfortunate culprit of the early tackle which led to Jack Demspey’s try being chalked off.

18. Oli Kebble – N/A

19. Gregor Brown – 7

Late call-up as cover for the unwell Max Williamson and did an admirable job despite lacking an authentic second-row’s bulk as a replacement for Richie Gray during the final quarter.

20. Euan Ferrie – N/A

21. Henco Venter – 8

This guy loves the physical stuff against his fellow countrymen and proved as much here.

22. Jamie Dobie – 7

Came on for Cancelliere and did his job well with one memorable run down the right wing.

23 .Duncan Weir – N/A

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About Iain Morrison 151 Articles
Iain was capped 15 times for Scotland at openside flanker between his debut against Ireland during the 1993 Six Nations and his final match against New Zealand at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa. He was twice a Cambridge ‘Blue’ and played his entire club career with London Scottish (being inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in 2016). Iain is a lifelong member of Linlithgow Rugby Club. After hanging up his boots, he became rugby correspondent for The Sunday Herald, before moving to The Scotland on Sunday for 16 years, and he has also guest written for various other publications.


  1. Glasgow and Scotland have to pull out the stops to keep this team and Franco Smith together.

    Dobie and Jordan could well be the future of Scottish rugby for club and country.

    Yet Telegraph today leading with a story of Premiership clubs targeting an English-qualified Jordan for 25/26.

    Dobie, Jordan, Redpath looks like immediate succession planning for the end of the Russell era. Exciting if that can be achieved.

    • Worry for me is what happened when Glasgow won the Pro 12, eg, losing some of their best players to other clubs. I hope lessons were learned, and the SRU stop this from happening again.

  2. Amazing result and although I haven’t seen the full game yet, sounds like a brilliant performance. This knockout stage campaign has been fantastic, congrats to the Warriors and I really really hope that we can evaluate how Franco has managed to instil these kinds of performances from mostly the same players who were so erratic during the 6N. it shows you how important the right coaching set up is in instilling the right mentality. Brilliant by all concerned, and sorely needed after the failings of the national football team!

  3. All of Jones, Tui, Darge were 8s. Jones made one mistake which gets focus, despite a heroic defensive effort, running great lines all day and scoring the winning try. Tui was a warrior and makes playing Jordan possible. Darge and the whole backline have, through this performance, laid a marker down for Scottish packs. Cannot wait for these forwards with Schoeman at loosehead to pack down internationally with this performance behind them.

  4. Just fantastic to see a Scottish side play with such guts. Unbelievable to win away to Munster and Bulls. So many great performances. Darge was part of an outstanding back row. Zander is a machine and the back 3 were superb. What a great culture that have built at Warriors. Loved it!

  5. The hit put in by George Turner on 69 minutes was a thing of pure beauty and controlled aggression

  6. Amazing result and performance; would say against the odds but don’t think the Warriors saw it that way, they had the belief to do it. Anyone know if full match replay is available somewhere for free – haven’t committed to passing a paywall yet! Agree re Zander; becoming one of the best THs in world rugby and unless something is done about reducing subs (which I would like to see), there has to be someone else to fill his boots at times. A few subs not used by Glasgow and not for the first time – do worry that players will be overworked and also need to make sure everyone getting game time ito maintain depth in the squad.

  7. As an Edinburgh supporter, I can say this was a great performance, Glasgow…well done and well played,, you’ve done Scottish rugby proud.
    Time to give Smith the Scotland job, me thinks.

    • working with players every day is very very different to working with a national squad every now and then. What SRU’s first priority is is to get Edinburgh players working to the same standards, for Edinburgh – and not allowing the same decades old complacency remain. Edin burgh need a new coach, their own coach, one who s demanding and understands how to manage individuals and a squad.

      Moving Smith would not solve that problem

    • Here’s the thing about coaches. They tend to be very context specific. They also succeed or fail with the players they have. And either develop those or bring in new ones to enhance the team.

      Just because Coach A works wonders in on context doesn’t follow that they do in a different one.

      The other issue is consistency. It would be massively unfair to expect Glasgow and Smith to repeat 2024. It is reasonable to expect 2025 Glasgow to be competing in the latter stages of URC and Europe though.

      • Yeah thanks for that mind blowing insight, Dom.

        Point is, performance is a good predictor of performance. There is a reason coaches who are successful with one club/nation are poached by others. Smith won’t be a guaranteed success with Scotland but the fact he has been with Glasgow, with much of the same players is a good indicator.

        • Nice one Euan.

          Where in Smiths coaching career did you see the signs of this success?

          Performance is also context specific. The world is littered with players in all sports who have found that out to their cost.

          To use your example, there is a previous Glasgow coach coaching an International side. How do you rate him?

      • Totally agree. Our next task is to get Edinburgh playing to their full potential which I’m not convinced they are.
        When it’s time for a new Scotland coach we need to spread the net wider, it’s a different animal being senior coach of an international team.
        This achievement by Glasgow should give our players a new belief they can win against the best.

  8. I dont really care about the ratings. This was the most complete team performance from a Scottish based team ever. I too was a doubting Thomas when we went to Thomond – we can’t win there, impossible. Then again in Pretoria – we can’t win there, no chance. Warriors played with a ferocity and calm organisation I haven’t seen in years from a Scottish side. Mentally strong, making right decisions and leaders all over the park. Finally the pieces all came together in a gutbusting glorious finale. Warriors – yes.

  9. I know the off field assistant has to look for dangerous play but it does also lead to moments of sheer elation, i.e. Jack Dempsey running in a try from half way, being crushed by finding a reason to disallow.Still elated though to see us win such a brilliant final

    • It must have been gut bursting for Dempsey haven’t put the effort in for it to be chalked off!

  10. Can’t agree with some of your ratings, they played fantastically, individually and as a team. Give due praise where it is deserved!

  11. Seldom times do you see a team from Scotland play with such belief and resilience. A tough 40 mins but hung in their and a huge emotional lift with the try at 40 mins but the second half was all Glasgow. High pace, awesome defence, amazing fitness levels and just belief that they could achieve. All round the best pro club game I have seen. Hearty congratulations. Job very well done week on week.

  12. The best Scottish Club performance I can remember. Sad to see Turner leaving he was immense. As long as we can keep them together this team could go on to great things. However, we can’t keep playing Fagerson for 80 minutes his body won’t stand it we need a great back up. An all round a terrific performance.

  13. I agree that the ratings are much too low. Even if judging them at the standard of the best performer down none of them would be below an 8 today. It was a total 80 minutes total team performance the likes of which Scottish rugby has only really talked about in recent years.

    There was a moment with about 4 or 5 minutes to go when the play broke down and the camera scanned across about 7 or 8 of the Glasgow team. Every one of them was on their knees trying just to catch their breath. That said it all for me. Nobody left an ounce of anything on that field today.

  14. The ratings are normally spot on but today they were all ten. If you win a final then who the hell cares. As for the Dobbie for the Sebastian Cancelliere for Jamie Dobie comment. I think it’s because Dobie is a better passer of the ball enabling him to come off the wing and push the ball more effectively from one edge to the other in the late stages of a game. This doesn’t detract from the fantastic contribution of Cancelliere though!

  15. Congratulations to the players, coaches, & backroom staff. It was a great performance & result.
    Certainly everyone played their part in this fantastic victory but for me Zander Fagerson was the unsung hero (& should have been the MotM), especially as he’s got the most strenuous & physically tiring position but still played the full 80 minutes in exhausting conditions. He also made a significant number of excellent drives, tackles, & was hugely physical in the tight all through the game. Yes the Warriors scrum was initially shunted back on two occasions, & penalties awarded against them because of this, but certainly in the 2nd of these scrums the Bulls players sneakily stepped to their left in order to overload Zander, which the ref failed to spot & therefore penalised the wrong team. If you consider how the Bulls’ scrum dominated Leinster last week, huge credit must go to the Warriors’ pack for being so solid & competitive.

  16. Normally moaning about how soft the ratings are….tonight tho it’s all wrong….the correct answer is 10…..every player. Ref n other officials did everything to beat them but every player decided no. SRU give Franco the Scotland job before a serious nation nicks him. Will never see a Scottish side under GT with that resilience

    • Seldom times do you see a team from Scotland play with such belief and resilience. A tough 40 mins but hung in their and a huge emotional lift with the try at 40 mins but the second half was all Glasgow. High pace, awesome defence, amazing fitness levels and just belief that they could achieve. All round the best pro club game I have seen. Hearty congratulations. Job very well done week on week.

  17. Zander Fagerson gets better and better, now starting to work out issues when they arise in the scrum, world class. He also raises the question why when you have someone that good do coaches still want to change their front row after 50/60 min.


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