URC quarter-final: Glasgow prevail at the death to see off Stormers

Munster now await in semi-final next Saturday at Thomond Park, kick-off 3pm.

Warriors v Stromers
The Stormers' Manie Libbok and Joseph Dweba tackle Sione Tuipulotu. Image: © Craig Watson. www.craigwatson.co.uk

Glasgow 27

Stormers 10


THAT scoreline may suggest Glasgow saw off the Stormers in relative comfort to go through to a semi-final away to Munster next Saturday, but the reality was a lot closer. Warriors deserved to win, all right, but it was a close-run thing until two tries in the final five minutes finally ended the challenge of the South Africans. 

Franco Smith‘s team were never behind, although in part they had Manie Libbok to thank for that. The South Africans’ stand-off had four kicks at goal – two conversions and two penalties – and missed all of them.  Granted, the Warriors should have been seven points to the good early on when George Horne fumbled what would have been a certain try with a probable conversion to follow, but that was just one error; the serial nature of Libbok’s failure must have proven more costly to the Stormers’ morale.

For the head coach, however, the key to the outcome – rather than anything the Stormers may have done wrong – was his players’ patience and persistence. “The rain that came down before the game made it even more complicated.,” Smith said. “Well done to the boys, we knew we’d be good in the second half if we stuck to our guns.

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“We did well keeping them out at the end of the first half. In general it was a great physical effort and the boys applied themselves well tonight.

“We said that if we get the ball, we’re not going to give it back to them easily and that paid off.

“We carried the ball well, we have all season. We just asked the guys not to go off-script. We didn’t want to give them broken play. They’ll keep giving us the ball and we’ll do what we need to do with it.

“The recovery will be important. We’ve planned it already and the menu we need to get through is shorter. I want them as fresh as possible, but everything is planned.”

The Warriors had had most of the pressure before that Horne chance just past the ten-minute mark. It started when they stole a Stormers lineout and mounted an attack down the right. Huw Jones made good ground before passing to Sebastian Cancelliere –  but then came the pass inside to Horne. A brisk shower shortly before kick-off had certainly made handling tricky, but even so, it had to go down as a massive missed opportunity.

The Capetonians’ first chance came with 17 minutes gone when they were awarded a penalty some 40 metres out after a Warriors defender went off his feet. Stand-off Libbok’s kick had the distance, all right, but drifted to the right of the posts.

At the other end a few minutes later, Stormers full-back Warrick Gelant was pinged for not rolling away just outside his own 22. Horne made no mistake with the kick to open the scoring.

Another penalty then gave LIbbok a second chance to go for goal from a very similar position to his first attempt, but he missed again. The Warriors soon had a second kickable chance of their own, but this time went for touch. The unusual figure of Jones was in the lineout and gathered the ball cleanly, but the throw-in was squint.

The Stormers won a penalty from the resultant scrum, but at the next set piece it was their pack who were penalised. This time Horne went for goal, and he was on target to make it 6-0.

Inside the closing minutes of the first half, a lineout just a few metres out gave the Stormers the platform they needed for an assault on the home line. That chance ended after a couple of phases, however, when – after the maul was halted just short – they were penalised for crossing.

It was the last chance of the half, which ended with the Warriors deservedly ahead – though it should have been by more than six points.



After being pinned back in their own half for the first few minutes after the restart, Glasgow relieved the siege when Jones won a jackal penalty on halfway. Nothing came of that award, but space was beginning to open up for the home attack. George Turner – soon to be departing for Japan – came on for his 100th Warriors appearance as both coaches began to empty their benches. The three earliest changes to the Stormers pack appeared to give the visitors some extra energy, but for Glasgow prop forward Nathan McBeth had only come on for two minutes before needing to go off again for an HIA. 

Stormers captain Salmaan Moerat was yellow-carded for a high tackle with 25 minutes to go, but the 14 men were undaunted by the loss and soon got their first score of the game when Ben Loader finished off in the left corner after an excellent offload by Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu. Libbok’s missed conversion left them a point behind – and that gap soon became wider when, after the Warriors stole the restart, an excellent bustling run by Sione Tuipulotu ended up by putting Cancelliere through for the first home try of the night.

Horne converted to make it 13-5, but the Stormers were not finished. Two minutes after coming off the bench, substitute scrum-half Paul de Wet slipped over the line after heavy pressure from the pack. Another missed conversion from Libbok – smashed back off a post this time – left the score at 13-10. 

The Warriors saved their best for last, as, far from appearing worried by the narrowness of the scoreline, they reasserted themselves with those two late touchdowns. First, with five minutes to go, heavy pressure eventually paid off when substitute Henco Venter crossed from very close range. Horne added the two points to make it 20-10 and that was the game in the bag.

Then Ross Thompson, just off the bench to make his 50th appearance, rounded things off when he seized on a loose ball to touch down for try No 3. Horne’s conversion ended the game. 


Teams –

Glasgow Warriors: J McKay; S Cancelliere (J Dobie 78), H Jones (R Thompson 78), S Tuipulotu, K Steyn (captain); T Jordan, G Horne ; J Bhatti (N McBeth 53, J Bhatti 55, O Kebble 68), J Matthews (G Turner 53), Z Fagerson, S Cummings, R Gray (M Williamson 67), M Fagerson, R Darge (H Venter 67), J Dempsey ( E Ferrie 78). 

Stormers: W Gelant; S Hartzenberg, D du Plessis, S Feinberg-Mngomezulu (J du Plessis 60), B Loader; M Libbok, H Jantjies (P de Wet 64); B Harris (S Sithole 65), J Dweba (A Venter 48), F Malherbe (N Fouche 50), S Moerat (captain, C Evans 78), R van Heerden (A Smith 67), W Engelbrecht (M Theunissen 50), B-J Dixon, H Dayimani.

Referee: Chris Busby (Ireland)


Yellow card –

Stormers: Moerat (56 mins)



Glasgow: Tries: Cancelliere, Venter, Thompson. Cons: Horne 3. Pens: Horne 2.

Stormers: Tries: Loader, De Wet. 

Scoring sequence (Glasgow first): 3-0; 6-0 (h-t) 6-5; 11-5; 13-5; 13-10; 18-10; 20-10; 25-10; 27-10.


Attendance: 5,879

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About Stuart Bathgate 1415 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.


  1. A great performance on both sides of the ball. OK we got a couple of home decisions from the ref and we’ll need to be sharper for next week to be in with a chance (particularly in attacking positions when we get in behind the opposition). But so much better than the previous few outings in terms of performance and intensity and more like how we know warriors can play.

  2. I thought our forwards put in a great shift especially Zander. We also played the conditions much better than them.

    In the backs Steyn played really well although I think he maybe got away with one when he contested that high ball and ended up clattering someone with a rogue arm. The Jones Tuipoluto combo worked better than against Zebre and there were a couple of times when Jones would have been clean away if he’d received the pop pass on Tuipolotu’s shoulder.

  3. Found a way to win in the end in a very physical contest. A lot more dog about that performance than recent weeks as well as pragmatism and discipline. Will be tougher next week – much will depend on the refereeing and how Glasgow adapt because Munster are renowned for slowing down ruck ball and scrummaging sideways. Nice for once to see a referee penalizing a prop for boring in sideways at the scrum and I thought the head contact on Mcbeth should have been red and the ref was looking for a reason not to give red.

  4. After a front performance of the age, a back gives PotM to a player who butchered a simple try scoring opportunity and left his opposite number wide open to concede a simple try. I doubt Zander will lose any sleep over this and who knows, in this form he may perform even better in semi and give Glasgow a chance in the semifinal. He is currently Scotland’s most important player as the drop off to the next in line is a bit of a cliff face.

    • Bit harsh there, he nailed his goalkicking too which considering that Libbok missed 10 points, essentially won us the game. Also on that missed try, the pass from Huw to Seb beforehand looked miles forward anyway, so even if Horne had scored it probably would have been looked at and written off.

  5. Bennetton much closer to Munster than I expected, so perhaps there is a way to win this game there.

    Bulls v Glasgow final anyone?

  6. I was interested in Franco Smith’s comment “We said that if we get the ball, we’re not going to give it back to them easily and that paid off.”
    From my viewpoint Horne’s frequent box kicking gave the ball to them easily!

    • A lesson learned from the Lions game. Sadly the damage caused by that game scuppered our home semi possibility as last night’s performance showed why we have the best home performance of any team in the URC.

  7. Very physical game and an excellent victory, Jordan Horne Z.Fagerson were excellent and the Tuipulotu break for the Canciellari try was world class.
    Maybe consider another kicking option to start next week to keep the Munstermen honest

  8. Tough physical game from both sides with both defenses working well. A wins a win as they say so on to Munster. Better second half than first, but was it just me or did the Stormers borrow the Irish habit of taking players out round the ruck and carry more than a few, miles past the breakdown. Good game from everyone but Horne excellent and a great cameo from Venter. Thought Turner was already at the beach looked disinterested. Next weekend will be tougher it will be interesting to see the team put out.

      • It was also his first game back after a lengthy lay-off. Can take a game or two to reach full match-sharpness.

  9. Fine effort. Thought Zander was superb and Horny was sublime. Against Munster though it will be a tougher task not least because most refs allow Munster to get away with murder at the contact area and with the offside line.

  10. A great performance in a very tight game. The final score flattered us but this was Glasgow getting back towards our best. Pack was immense, Zander is becoming truly world class. Sione also had a great game as did Horne. We were however very lucky Libbock was off form, Munster won’t miss those opportunities.
    One of the better performances this season and physically maybe the best. The backs have always been good, the pack is becopmiong first class. Good luck next week!

  11. Close close game as the final league standings suggested, but we saw it out. Great result… fronted up which was great to see against one of the most physical teams out there. Scrum in particular was getting results, and some of the decision making when to go for the counter ruck spot-on. Thought that Zander could easily have been MoM.

    We butchered two clear tries, which we can’t afford to do next week or thereafter,, but still found a way once the game opened up a bit. Played the scoreboard better than we’ve done in other close matches recently, and no rash tap and goes etc.. I wonder if that’s what Franco’s referring to by sticking to the plan?

    Could have sworn the post moved to stop Libbok’s last kick! He had a ‘mare from the tee, and not great for hand either.

    Munster weren’t great yesterday, there is an opportunity in Limerick.

  12. Well done Warriors, a very gritty professional performance all round. A close, exciting game. Glad but surprised there wasn’t a back up kicker for Stormers as it was obvious Libbock’s timing was off in the wind and rain and his confidence was shot.


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