Glasgow Warriors suffer damaging blows in South Africa with two key players taken off injured in Stormers defeat
The visitors began brightly enough, taking the lead through a Jack Dempsey try converted by Ross Thompson, but they were unable to score again as the hosts took control.
Having begun the day in third, Danny Wilson’s side were awaiting other results to learn if they will remain in the top four and so stay on course for a quarter-final at Scotstoun. But in any event, with away games against the Bulls and Edinburgh to come, they face a tough fight in the run-in to the regular season.
“We need to go and take points now from the Bulls game,” Wilson said. “We’ve been top four all season and knew that these last three games were going to be huge – two in South Africa and then a derby away from home.”
Kyle Steyn left the field early with an achilles injury, while Sam Johnson damaged an ankle in the second half. It is not yet known how bad either injury is, but, while the loss of those two backs did not help the Warriors’ cause, Wilson did not try to make excuses after another match in which his team faded badly.
“It’s a common theme,” the head coach added. “We struggled with a little bit of adversity and made too many errors – that’s the cycle that we now need to break. We’ve been good for 40 minutes in most games; second halves haven’t been as good. It is definitely something that we need to look at.
“We gave a very good team too many good field position opportunities to get points. It’s the last try that was probably the most painful and summed us up really: a dropped-ball error when we had a chance to attack and we come out of our system in defence and they score the bonus-point try.”
After a cagey start to the game, the deadlock was broken midway through the half when Dempsey forced his way over from a metre out after Rory Darge had been held up. A Manie Libbok penalty opened the home side’s account, and soon afterwards full-back Damian Willemse drifted across the field from the left wing before putting Rikus Pretorius through with a smartly-timed pass.
Libbok converted, then added a penalty in the closing minute of the half to make it 13-7 at the break. The game was still in the balance at that stage, but in the second half the Stormers took control with two tries in quick succession to put the game beyond the visitors.
Scrum-half Herschel Jantjies got the first of them, finishing off a counter-attack in which openside Hacjivah Dayimani sliced through the Glasgow defence with embarrassing ease. Dayimani was involved in the second try as well, providing the link between Gelant and winger Leolin Zas, who touched down on the left.
With Libbok converting the second try, that put the Stormers 18 points ahead.
Things got worse for the visitors when Josh McKay was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle on Ruan Nel, and a disappointing evening was rounded off when, after that error mentioned by Wilson, Evan Roos got his team’s bonus-point try in the closing minutes. Libbok’s conversion ended the match.