A critical yellow card handed out by Irish referee Frank Murphy to Cheetahs full-back Malcolm Jaer at the start of the second half proved the turning point at the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein last night as Glasgow Warriors opened their Cape visit with a seven-try victory, their third straight win of the season.
And while concerned about an injury to prop Zander Fagerson, coach Dave Rennie was pleased with the outcome.
“We made a couple of errors in the first half and they’ve got so much gas that they kicked and chased well and they profited off it,” said Rennie.
“We’re a fit side, and in the second half it was easier to control the pace of the game. We forced them to make a lot of tackles, and that told on them in the second half.”
Warriors showed they meant business from the off with an opening score from Adam Hastings, who would end the night as man of the match.
Their advantage was short lived. A turnover in midfield allowed Tian Schoeman to kick ahead, winger William Small-Smith
following up for the touchdown.
Glasgow’s ball retention, or a lack of it, cost them as the home side struck from deep inside their own territory, centre Benhard Janse van Rensburg broke, fed Tian Meyer who produced a wonderfully weighted cross-kick to enable full-back Malcolm Jaer to score in the corner.
Down 12-7, Glasgow were then down in numbers, Alex Dunbar sin-binned for a high tackle.
Warriors were still coming to terms with that, when Cheetahs worked a quick, clever line-out.
Rennie had cautioned his counterpart, Franco Smith, was an “experienced and innovative coach”. That warning obviously wasn’t heeded by his charges, for as Glasgow slept, Cheetahs worked a bootleg move, scrum-half Meyer breaking from the front of the line-out. Tommy Seymour’s speed of thought prevented a try.
That close call sparked some urgency in Glasgow ranks, and after several waves of concerted pressure, Ali Price celebrated his first start of the season going over behind the posts, Hastings restoring the Glasgow lead at 14-12.
For a side which toils on their Travels, the Cheetahs are a different beast at altitude. It was their turn to attack, with Glasgow forced in to some lung-bursting defence which was breached again, Schoeman doubling back on himself to off-load and send Nico Lee in for a third score inside the first half hour and a 19-14 advantage.
Cheetahs took their lead in to the turnaround, but the game was turned on its head when Jaer was yellow carded in the first minute of the second half, for taking out an airborne Seymour. The extra man advantage was exploited immediately, and off the penalty line-out Seymour burst on to Price’s pass, dancing his way over. Hastings chipped the extra points and Glasgow were 21-19 to the good.
That yellow card was proving pivotal for Glasgow added a fourth try and a bonus point when Price crossed for his second try of the night.
However, Fagerson was injured in the build-up and left the field in some discomfort aboard the medical cart. Coach Rennie was uncertain of the full extent of the injury but thought the Scotland prop could be missing for several weeks.
Having erased the errors from their game, Glasgow pulled away. DTH van dear Merwe, the Warriors all-time leading try
scorer, clocked up his 48th try in Glasgow colours. Jaer grabbed a second score to keep the Cheetahs in it, but Callum Gibbins and George Horne added tries and Hastings made it eight out of eight from the tee, to take Glasgow beyond the half-century.
Cheetahs: Jaer; Small-Smith, van Rensburg, Lee, Maxwane; Schoeman, Meyer; Marais, Dweba, Coetzee, Steenkamp, du Preez, Olivier, Pokomela, Davis. Replacements; du Toit, Nche, van Rensburg, Visser, Jordaan, van der Merwe, Venter, Eksteen.
Warriors: Jackson; Seymour, Dunbar, P.Horne, van der Merwe; Hastings, Price; Kebble, Brown, Z.Fagerson Cummings, Gray, Harley, Gibbins, Ashe. Replacements; Turner, Allan, Rae, M.Fagerson, Fusaro, G.Horne, Frisby, Jones.
Source : HeraldScotland