Glasgow Warriors 24-17 DHL Stormers
Sebastian Cancelliere’s unforgettable last-minute score secured a sixth consecutive win for Glasgow Warriors this afternoon, as Franco Smith’s men earned a 24-17 victory over the DHL Stormers at Scotstoun.
A brace from the Argentinian flyer – allied to scores from Kyle Steyn and Player of the Match Huw Jones – sent the Warrior Nation home delirious, after a barnstorming BKT United Rugby Championship clash.
With the pre-game noise still ringing around Scotstoun, the early intent was from those in Glasgow colours. A line-break from Steyn saw the Warriors burst into the Stormers 22, with Sione Vailanu charging forward at every opportunity.
That early intent would yield the game’s first score with just eight minutes played, as the Warriors fired the opening shot. A turnover in midfield saw Tom Jordan and Ollie Smith combine to free Cancelliere, the Argentinian scampering up the touchline before finding Huw Jones on the inside. The centre’s return ball was perfectly timed to Cancelliere, the winger twisting and turning before diving over in front of the West Stand. George Horne’s conversion drifted wide, but the hosts led 5-0.
Back came the Stormers as the visitors looked to hit back, with Paul de Wet raising the tempo in midfield. The scrum-half’s quickly tapped penalty was illegally stopped by Lewis Bean, the second-rower earning ten minutes in the sin-bin for his troubles.
In his absence, the men from Cape Town made their numerical advantage count. A short-range maul was stopped short initially, but Joseph Dweba had more than enough power to break away and barge over for the score. Manie Libbok added the extras, and the Stormers led by two.
Yet even with a man on the sidelines, the Warriors weren’t messing around with ball in hand. When Cancelliere’s recovery of a loose kick set up field position on halfway, the hosts would click into life immediately. A powerful burst from Matt Fagerson in midfield took his team in behind the defence, before the backs took over. Jordan and Smith would again be the catalyst, freeing the rampaging Jones in the wide channel to give the scoring pass to the supporting Steyn. The conversion would once again drift agonisingly wide, but the Warriors were back in front with 19 minutes on the clock.
Neither side were giving an inch in midfield, with the two defences providing their fair share of shuddering collisions in the middle third. Libbok and Jordan were looking to marshal their respective offences, the former almost putting Leolin Zas away with a cross-kick were it not for the intervention of Steyn.
The Stormers would be the next to cross the whitewash, however, as repeated penalties inside the Glasgow 22 eventually told. Whilst the Warriors defence would hold firm initially, a cut-out ball from de Wet would give Clayton Blommetjes a run-in to the corner, and whilst the conversion was wide the Stormers had their lead back once more.
It would be a lead that would be preserved until the interval only by the scramble defence of Libbok, the fly-half somehow getting enough of a hold on Jones to halt the centre’s break just five metres short of the try-line.
The Warriors were knocking on the door, however, and that door was beginning to creak. Lucio Sordoni and JP du Preez were happy to lead the charge into contact, and the Stormers defence would finally give way on 50 minutes. A searing break from Steyn saw the skipper race from halfway deep into the opposition 22, before the Warriors showed good patience in the face of the onrushing Stormers defence. It was left to Jones to apply the finish, thundering onto Jordan’s short pass like a train to leave three defenders in his wake and dive over in front of the East Stand. Horne added the extras, and the home side had a 17-12 lead.
Back would come the Stormers once more, and the scores would be levelled again just after the hour mark. With the intensity of the collisions ramping up another notch, Junior Pokomela would eventually burrow his way over for the visitors’ third try, only to see Libbok’s conversion attempt sail wide of the upright to leave the scores tied at 17-17.
Roared on by the Warrior Nation, the home side shook off the blow as the rain began to fall and set about in pursuit of a match-deciding intervention. The combination of Jones and Tuipulotu continued to dove-tail to excellent effect in midfield, whilst a scintillating counter-attack from deep saw Smith and Cancelliere send Steyn on course for the corner only for the covering Blommetjes to deny the Glasgow captain.
Yet the breakthrough would come, and come in unforgettable fashion. Phase after phase of Glasgow attack in Stormers territory had the Scotstoun atmosphere at fever-pitch, before Tuipulotu looked up and slide the most pinpoint of grubber kicks in behind the defence. Time seemed to slow as Cancelliere raced in unopposed to gather the ball, sliding over the whitewash to send the Scotstoun faithful into pandemonium.
Domingo Miotti’s conversion sealed the deal as the clock ticked into the red, and the Warrior Nation celebrated alongside their team. Six wins on the spin for Smith’s men, as a return to European adventure awaits next weekend.