Cape Town - There
was a lot of talk about the altitude perhaps catching up with them, but
instead it was the Glasgow Warriors who finished the stronger as they
maintained their momentum with an exciting 29-26 win over the Cheetahs
in the PRO14 in Bloemfontein on Friday.
are coached by former Chiefs mentor Dave Rennie, and you can already see
the impact that he is having on the Scottish franchise. With the
Cheetahs murdering them in the scrums and dominant in the lineouts, the
visitors had to rely on tempo and keeping the ball in play to get their
win, and they did that to great effect.
The Cheetahs should not
feel too disconsolate for losing as they played their part in a high
quality game and it was the visitors who packed the most internationals,
and by some distance. They had several star players, including former
Hurricanes openside flank Callum Gibbins, who scored two tries, but they
probably wouldn’t have won were it not for the deft touches of their
flyhalf Finn Russell.
The Scotland international inspired the
two late tries that allowed the Warriors to come back from a six point
deficit to win the game as the lead changed hands a couple of times in
the last 10 minutes. It was Russell’s chip and gather in the 70th minute
that started the interplay that led to a try for replacement Henry
That try put the Warriors into a narrow lead (24-23)
but the Cheetahs, who knew they could control the game if they could
just set up set-piece opportunities - they were awarded penalties at
almost every scrum in the last part of the game - fought back to reclaim
the lead with an Ernst Stapelberg penalty with just four minutes
That was the cue for the Warriors to put in one last
big effort. The Cheetahs defence was outstanding for most of the game
but it started to wilt in those final minutes and after the Warriors had
probed their way through a defensive hole it was Russell who had the
quick thinking to kick the ball into the left hand corner. There were no
Cheetahs defenders back as the ball bounced in the in-goal area and Rob
Hartley dotted down for what was to prove the winning score.
Earlier the Cheetahs looked like they might be about to close the game
out and in retrospect they might rue their decision to kick for posts
when they forced a penalty on the Warriors line in the 66th minute.
Stapelberg did kick the goal but the Cheetahs scrum was so dominant that
from that position it would have been hard for the Warriors to keep
them from scoring a try that would have put them more than a score ahead
with less than a quarter of an hour remaining.
Make no mistake
too, the Cheetahs were also unlucky. They resisted a long, sustained
period of pressure from the Warriors in the first 10 minutes after
half-time and had started to click on attack and force the Warriors back
into their own half. The Cheetahs were deep on attack and looked to be
building for a try as they spun the ball left only for the ball to be
intercepted by Scottish test wing Tommy Seymour.
able to run the length of the field himself as he was caught by the
pacey Makazole Mapimpi but he was able to get the ball to Gibbins, who
went over for his second try. It was effectively a 14 point swing
against the Cheetahs, who were leading 17-10 at the time and who would
have gone 14 points clear had they scored there. Instead they found
themselves level at 17-all.
The Cheetahs were forced to make
many more tackles than the busy Warriors and in that sense it might make
sense that ultimately it was they who looked like they were gasping for
air at the end and the visitors who were getting stronger. But for much
of the first half it looked like it would be the Cheetahs’ night as
they led for most of the way.
Their first try was scored by
Sergeal Petersen, with the fullback popping up outside a good surge down
the right flank from Mapimpi. That cancelled out an early Russell
penalty and with Stapelberg kicking a three pointer of his own, the
Cheetahs led 10-3 until the 34th minute, which was when Gibbins took
advantage of an aggressive clean-out that cleared a path for him under
the Cheetahs’ posts to level the scores at 10-all.
It was then
the Cheetahs’ turn to force a swing, with a turn-over during a good
Warriors attack resulting in a field kick from a Cheetahs forward that
fell perfectly for the hyper-active and omnipresent Rosco Spekman, who
ran in the try on the stroke of half-time to give the hosts their halfway
The defeat ended a good sequence of home wins from
the Cheetahs, who have made a great fist of their promise to turn their
home stadium into a fortress after a poor start to the competition
during their first overseas tour. They will now be under pressure to
make up for this loss by winning as they hit the road again. The
Warriors though will be particularly pleased with the way they dug in to
win at a difficult away venue and retain their impressive unbeaten
This loss sees the Cheetahs slip to third on the Conference A standings with 16 points in their six games, while Warriors remain on the top of the standings with 28 points.
Tries: Sergeal Petersen, Rosco Spekman
Conversions: Ernst Stapelberg (2)
Penalties: Stapelberg (4)
Tries: Callum Gibbins (2), Henry Pyrgos, Rob Harley
Conversions: Finn Russell (3)
15 Sergeal Petersen, 14 Rosko Specman, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 William Small-Smith, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Ernst Stapelberg, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Oupa Mohoje, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais
Substitutes: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Johan Coetzee, 19 Rynier Bernardo, 20 Junior Pokomela, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Nico Lee, 23 Luther Obi
15 Ruaridh Jackson, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Leonardo Sarto, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Adam Ashe, 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 Ryan Wilson (captain), 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Jamie Bhatti
Substitutes: 16 George Turner, 17 Alex Allan, 18 D’Arcy Rae, 19 Brian Alainu’uese, 20 Rob Harley, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Peter Horne, 23 Niko Matawalu