Glasgow Warriors suffered defeat at the hands of fellow playoff chasers DHL Stormers in Cape Town this evening, as the South African side claimed a 32-7 win over Danny Wilson’s men.
Jack Dempsey’s early score proved in vain for the visitors, as the home side ran in four tries to leapfrog the Warriors in the United Rugby Championship standings.
A competitive opening saw both sides look to get an upper hand early on, with neither set of players willing to give an inch. A scrum penalty 40 metres out gave Mani Libok an early shot at goal, only for the Stormers pivot to push his kick well wide of the uprights.
The Warriors in turn were looking to fire an early shot, with the breakdown work of Dempsey and Rory Darge in particular causing problems for the hosts. The powerful duo of Zander Fagerson and Oli Kebble were also putting themselves in the thick of the action, whilst a Johnny Matthews line break saw the hooker stopped just five metres from the try-line.
A finely-balanced opening quarter would end with the Warriors on top, as the visitors struck for the opening try of the evening. A turnover penalty from Fagerson allowed Ross Thompson to put the ball into the corner, before the Glasgow pack went to work from close range. When Darge’s break was stopped just inches short of the line, Dempsey was on hand to pick up and barge over to touch down, Thompson adding the extras for a 7-0 lead.
With the game being played increasingly in the middle third of the field, game management was coming increasingly to the fore. Price’s box-kicking kept the Stormers honest in defence, whilst the home side’s line speed was showing no sign of slowing.
That line speed led to the Stormers opening their account on 31 minutes, as Rikus Pretorius’s hit on Thompson saw referee Andrew Brace award the penalty at the breakdown, Libok narrowing the gap to 7-3.
More was to come from Pretorius just four minutes later. With advantage in hand, Damien Willemse’s switch of play saw the full-back find his centre on a short line, Pretorius going over under the posts for the score. Libok’s conversion extended the Stormers lead, before adding a second penalty with a minute left in the half to give his side a 13-7 half-time advantage.
The Stormers picked up where they left off as the second half got underway, yet the Warriors had the first opportunity for points after the restart. An Ali Price chip was regathered by Sione Tuipulotu, with the centre linking up with Sam Johnson. The kick to the corner was just out of reach for Cole Forbes, however, and the chance went begging.
Instead, it would be the Stormers who would strike on 52 minutes. A counter-attack from Warrick Gelant saw the replacement work the three on two with Hacjivah Dayimani, the flanker showing good speed to draw the last man and send Herschel Jantjies over the whitewash. The conversion went astray, but the Stormers were on the front foot.
Just two minutes later, the hosts would be celebrating once more. Again it was Dayimani who would provide the scoring pass, taking out three defenders with a terrific offload to send Leolin Zas over unopposed. Libok added the extras, and the Stormers had a 25-7 lead.
Try as they might, the Warriors couldn’t find their way back into proceedings. Half-breaks from George Turner and Darge were countered by the work of Willemse and Gelant, who were looking lively at every opportunity.
With both Kyle Steyn and Sam Johnson having departed the field due to knocks, an already stretched Glasgow backline was dealt a further blow with 11 minutes to play, as Josh McKay found himself sent to the sin-bin for a high shot on Ruhan Nel.
Despite the best efforts of the Glasgow defence, there would be one final score in the match for the Stormers, and it would be the one that secured their bonus-point. Once again Willemse and Gelant were the creators, before Evan Roos burst through to hold off the effort of Thomas Gordon and touch down for the score. Libok’s conversion was the final act of the match, leaving the final score at 32-7 to the home side.
The Warriors have seven days in which to pick themselves up and bounce back, now, as a clash with the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld awaits next Friday.
Kick-off 8:00 pm