Match report: Going Down Fighting

The Hollywoodbets Sharks succumbed to a determined Glasgow Warriors side in a tight, combative Vodacom United Rugby Championship clash on Friday evening, going down three tries to two in a pulsating 21-10 contest.

Glasgow maintained their impressive home record, using their 5g artificial pitch to their advantage as they played a relentless, high-paced, ball-in-hand style of play. They didn’t have matters all go their way and suffered a yellow card for repeated infringements late in the first half.

They were also forced to work hard for their points, but ultimately had too much in the tank to relinquish the hold they’ve had over visiting teams over the last two seasons.

Glasgow struck the first blow, a converted try giving them the advantage on the scoreboard, but the game lacked structure with neither side really able to build momentum with both teams unable to build the kind of pressure that results in points.

Glasgow’s competing for the ball on the ground gave them the edge at the breakdowns, but the physical battle was won by the Hollywoodbets Sharks on attack.

A strong scrum from the home side after the ball had failed to be controlled in the 22 put Glasgow on the front foot and their ferocious attack built the pressure that finally saw them double their score, the conversion taking them 14-0 ahead on the half hour.

Glasgow had to see out the remaining five minutes of the half (and five of the second half) a man down after conceding a litany of penalties defending in their 22 and the response was almost immediate, Dan Jooste driven over from a strong maul to get his team on the scoreboard.

Three minutes of extra time was played, the home side looking to close out on a high and they managed to build enough pressure to score their third try in the last play of the game, taking a 21-5 lead into the half-time break.

Glasgow had the lion’s share of possession in the second half, managing to work their way into the Hollywoodbets Sharks’ 22 and forcing the visitors into defending for their lives. To their credit, they stood up to everything the home side threw into their attack, and it was a substantial and sustained effort from the Warriors with their energy-demanding play.

One man kept standing out with his workrate, Corne Rahl making an incredible shift and being involved in every play, on defence and attack, making a nuisance of himself and always making a valuable contribution.

He’d been active in Glasgow being driven backwards and eventually the Hollywoodbets Sharks were on attack, Ntuthuko Mchunu closing out a decisive attack to cut the lead  to 21-10 as the game hit the final quarter.

It would be the only score of the second half, a determined Hollywoodbets Sharks side working hard to haul in their opponents, and smashing them on defence when needed to keep their tryline intact.

It was never going to be an easy assignment, but there was no doubt about the Durban side’s effort and commitment to the cause throughout.