The Cheetahs, 13 of whose starting line-up had also played in their Currie Cup final victory three weeks earlier, played some magnificent continuity rugby. Even so, the Warriors made it all too easy for them with some inaccurate, uninspired play, which Rennie admitted to being surprised by.
“Yeah, I was,” he said. “We expected better. We weren’t good enough today. We were a couple of cogs off. You can get spanked in this competition and that’s what happened.
“We just didn’t do the basics well enough. Our set piece didn’t function, we didn’t tackle well enough: put those ingredients together and you’re going to struggle.
“They were good. They’re a well-oiled team, played together for a few months. We were miles away from where we needed to be. You can’t build pressure if you can’t hold on to the ball.”
Cheetahs captain Ruan Pienaar masterminded the win by the South Africans, who were hungrier, smarter and sharper than their Conference A rivals. Glasgow only threatened intermittently, scoring after half an hour through Nick Frisby then ten minutes into the second half through Robbie Nairn. On both occasions the subsequent conversion by Brandon Thomson took them back to within ten points, but each time the Cheetahs hit back with a score of their own within minutes.
There was encouragement for Rennie in a lively competitive debut in adversity by teenage scrum-half Jamie Dobie, but there were also injuries to Nick Grigg, Matt Fagerson, Kyle Steyn and Andrew Davidson that will cause concern as the coach prepares for Friday’s home game against Scarlets.
Another piece of bad news for Glasgow was confirmed yesterday when it was announced that Ali Price has had surgery on a foot injury and is likely to be out of action for up to eight weeks.
The Warriors scrum-half was injured in Scotland’s opening World Cup game against Ireland on Sunday and has been replaced in the squad by Edinburgh No 9 Henry Pyrgos.