Glasgow clinch URC semi-final as Stormers rue Manie Libbok’s kicking issues

Planet Rugby
Sebastian Cancelliere scoring for Glasgow Warriors in 2024.

Sebastian Cancelliere scoring for Glasgow Warriors in 2024.

Glasgow Warriors have booked their place in the United Rugby Championship (URC) semi-finals after defeating the Stormers 27-10 in a cagey clash at Scotstoun Stadium.

Franco Smith’s charges led 6-0 at the break thanks to a pair of penalties from the boot of player of the match George Horne edging them ahead, with Manie Libbok missing both of his shots at goal.

Ben Loader and Paul de Wet grabbed tries for the Stormers but Libbok’s inaccuracy off the tee proved costly as he was wayward with both conversions, ending the match having missed all of his attempts.

Sebastian Cancelliere, Henco Venter and Ross Thompson crossed for second-half scores for Glasgow, Horne converting all three, to seal the 27-10 victory and book a place in the semi-finals where they will face defending champions Munster.

Meanwhile, Leinster head to South Africa where they will face the Bulls in the second URC semi-final.

Click here for scorers

Glasgow, who continue their bid for a first title since 2015, moved in front with the first real attacking move from either team. Their forwards stole the Stormers’ line-out before feeding the ball through multiple pairs of hands until it reached Cancelliere on the opposite flank.

The Argentinian winger waited to draw his man before passing inside to Horne who fumbled the pass, knocking the ball on right in front of the line.

Stormers were enjoying plenty of possession, too, and elected to kick for the posts after Zander Fagerson was penalised by the referee for using hands on the floor. It was a tricky kick for Libbok in the wind and he pulled his effort wide of the posts.

The Warriors rarely kick for the posts but elected to take the three points on offer when Stormers were pinged, Horne atoning for his earlier error by making a straightforward kick.

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There was a moment of concern for Kyle Steyn after the Glasgow captain caught Stormers full-back Warrick Gelant with his arm as the pair contested a high kick. The TMO and the referee consulted before deciding a penalty was sufficient punishment, with Libbok again failing to find the target from the tee.

When the home side were then awarded a scrum penalty, they again went for the posts rather than the corner, and Horne made no mistake in doubling his side’s lead.

Stormers’ cause was not helped when they lost their captain, Salmaan Moerat, to a yellow card in the second half after making head-on-head contact with Warriors’ replacement Nathan McBeth. Even with a man fewer, however, it was the visitors who stayed on top and they got their reward with the first try of the game.

It was a terrific move, Gelant feeding Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu who in turn offloaded to Ben Loader who scored in the corner. Libbok could not add the extras from out wide.

That temporarily stunned the home crowd, but it was not long before they had a score of their own to celebrate.

Stormers bobbled the kick-off, providing Sione Tuipulotu with possession, and the Scotland centre’s mazy run set up Cancelliere to score, with Horne converting.

The game had by now burst into life and Stormers gave themselves another lifeline when De Wet dummied and burst over from close range.

But Libbok again missed the conversion, from right in front of the posts, and Warriors’ second try of the match settled the outcome.

Venter was the man to dive over after a series of pick-and-goes, before Thompson capped his 50th appearance by diving over right before the full-time hooter to complete the scoring.

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The teams

Glasgow: 15 Josh McKay, 14 Sebastian Cancelliere, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Kyle Steyn (c), 10 Tom Jordan, 9 George Horne, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Rory Darge, 6 Matt Fagerson, 5 Richie Gray, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Johnny Matthews, 1 Jamie Bhatti
Replacements: 16 George Turner, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Oli Kebble, 19 Max Williamson, 20 Euan Ferrie, 21 Henco Venter, 22 Jamie Dobie, 23 Ross Thompson

Stormers: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, 11 Ben Loader, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Ben-Jason Dixon, 6 Willie Engelbrecht, 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Salmaan Moerat (c), 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Brok Harris
Replacements: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Adre Smith, 20 Marcel Theunissen, 21 Connor Evans, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Jean-Luc du Plessis

Referee: Chris Busby (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Frank Murphy (Ireland), Peter Martin (Ireland)
TMO: Mark Patton (Ireland)

READ MORE: United Rugby Championship semi-final fixtures and kick-off times confirmed