Glasgow Warriors make whirlwind start to deflate Sharks and secure their first United Rugby Championship win

Five tries and a bonus point victory made it a satisfying day’s work for Glasgow Warriors as they defeated the Sharks 35-24, largely thanks to an utterly convincing first-half performance from the home side.

Glasgow Warriors' Cole Forbes scores his side's fourth try against the Cell C Sharks at Scotstoun. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS
Glasgow Warriors' Cole Forbes scores his side's fourth try against the Cell C Sharks at Scotstoun. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

Cole Forbes scored two fine tries and there were also scores from the impressive Ross Thompson, captain Ryan Wilson and returning prop Jamie Bhatti. Thompson converted all five.

It was Glasgow’s first win in the new United Rugby Championship and their South African opponents were caught cold by the hosts’ whirlwind start.

The Warriors dominated the first quarter, scoring three converted tries before the Sharks had woken up. They were in trouble as early as the tenth second as Rufus McLean, chasing his own kick, had the Sharks scrambling to clear their lines in their own in-goal area.

Glasgow Warriors co-captain Ryan Wilson congratulates Cole Forbes on his first try. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

Glasgow won the lineout and maintained the pressure until the ball was transferred from Sione Tuipulotu to Thompson who went in under the posts and then converted his own try.

The Sharks squandered an opportunity to reduce the lead when full-back Curwin Bosch was off-target with a fairly simple penalty opportunity and the visitors were soon made to pay.

The Sharks were giving away penalties like confetti in a desperate attempt to stem the Glasgow attack and referee Ben Whitehouse decided to take action, sending flanker Dylan Richardson to the sin-bin. Glasgow were pushing hard for a second try and it came when captain Ryan Wilson spun off a ruck and plunged over.

The Sharks were all at sea and, when Thompson threaded through a grubber, Bosch was collared by Sam Johnson on his own line. Glasgow kept up the pressure and Fraser Brown drew two defenders before playing in Bhatti to score on his Scotstoun return.

Ross Thompson got the ball rolling by scoring Glasgow Warriors' opening try. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

The South African side needed to do something and they did, their forwards taking matters in hand and grinding Glasgow down in a period of sustained pressure which culminated in Le Roux Roets squeezing over. Whitehouse awarded the try but only after a consultation with the TMO convinced him the lock had grounded the ball.

Bosch’s conversion meant the lead had been reduced to 21-7 but Glasgow were able to withstand further incursions into their 22 and ended the half strongly by scoring a superb team try.

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It all began with a fine run up the left by Jack Dempsey. The ball was recycled and the backs took over. George Horne, Thompson, Tuipulotu and Johnson were all involved before McLean offloaded to Forbes for the score. Thompson converted expertly from wide on the right.

A Bosch penalty made it 28-10 to Glasgow at the interval but there was to be no respite for the Sharks.

It took Forbes took just two minutes of the second half to get his second try and it was a superb individual effort. The full-back’s right-footed chip caused panic in the visitors’ defence and as stand-off Boeta Chamberlain misjudged the bounce off the ball, Forbes pounced.

Sharks were 35-10 down but opted to kick a penalty which Bosch proceeded to miss. It was an odd decision and it looked even odder when Tuipulotu ran in what looked like another fine Glasgow try. However, the centre was denied after referee Whitehouse decided he had obstructed Richardson in the build-up.

It was a let off for the Sharks and they took full advantage when prop Thomas du Toit used his powerful physique to score the visitors’ second try.

And there was more to come from the Natal side. When Glasgow’s replacement lock Lewis Bean was shown the yellow card for infringing at a ruck, the Sharks made the most of the numerical advantage and substitute Ntuthuko Mchunu plunged over. Ruan Pienaar converted.

Scorers. Glasgow Warriors: Tries: Thompson, Wilson, Bhatti, Forbes 2. Cons: Thompson 5.

Cell C Sharks: Tries: Roets, du Toit, Mchunu. Cons: Bosch 2, Pienaar. Pen: Bosch.

Glasgow Warriors: Cole Forbes; Kyle Steyn, Sione Tuipulotu, Sam Johnson (Stafford McDowall 55), Rufus McLean; Ross Thompson (Pete Horne 76), George Horne (Jamie Dobie 62); Jamie Bhatti (Brad Thyer 50), Fraser Brown (George Turner 50), Murray McCallum (Murphy Walker 62), Richie Gray (Lewis Bean 70), Scott Cummings, Ryan Wilson (Ally Miller 70), Thomas Gordon, Jack Dempsey.

Cell C Sharks: Curwin Bosch (Tian Meyer 70); Yaw Penxe, Werner Kok (Hyron Andrews 50), Murray Koster, Thaakir Abrahams; Boeta Chamberlain, Ruan Pienaar; Khwezi Mona (Ntuthuko Mchunu 55), Fez Mbatha (Kerron van Vuuren, 51), Thomas du Toit (Lourens Adriaanse 75), Le Roux Roets (Jeremy Ward 50, Ruben van Heerden, Dylan Richardson, Gerbrandt Grobler (Thembelani Bholi 55), Phepsi Buthelezi (James Venter 66).

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU)

Attendance: 6,449

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