Glasgow suffer heavy defeat to Cheetahs in PRO14 opener

Glasgow Warriors counted the cost of missing World Cup stars as their Guinness PRO14 campaign opened with a 48-14 defeat to the Cheetahs.

Glasgow suffer heavy defeat to Cheetahs in PRO14 opener

[team1]Cheetahs[/team1][score1]48[/score1][team2]Glasgow Warriors[/team2][score2]14[/score2][/score]

Glasgow Warriors counted the cost of missing World Cup stars as their Guinness PRO14 campaign opened with a 48-14 defeat to the Cheetahs.

The Warriors were PRO14 runners-up last season, narrowly losing to Leinster in the Celtic Park final just four months ago.

But the odds were stacked against the depleted Warriors in Bloemfontein as Dave Rennie’s side were without 16 players on World Cup duty in Japan.

To make Glasgow’s task even tougher, the Cheetahs were high on confidence after winning their first eight matches in South Africa’s domestic Currie Cup competition.

That self-belief showed as the home side, playing scintillating rugby at times, ran in seven tries to suggest they could be serious PRO14 contenders this season.

The Cheetahs started at a furious pace on the Highveld with Ruan Pienaar pouncing on a loose ball inside six minutes and the scrum-half converted his own try.

Pienaar slotted over a penalty and also added the extras to an astonishing score from Joseph Dweba, the burly hooker displaying the pace of a back to burst over from 35 metres.

Glasgow’s problems deepened as injuries forced centre Nick Grigg and second row Andrew Davidson out of the game in the opening quarter.

But some neat football skills on the touchline from replacement Bruce Flockhart allowed Nick Frisby to claim a counter-attack try and Brandon Thomson added the conversion.

The Cheetahs responded immediately, though, as Dweba scored his second try from a driving maul and Pienaar’s conversion gave the hosts a 24-7 interval lead.

Scotland Under-18 captain Jamie Dobbin came on for his debut four minutes after the restart, becoming the first player born after the millennium to play for the Warriors.

The teenage scrum-half had a hand in Glasgow’s second try as he fed Thomson quick ball.

Outside-half Thomson broke a tackle and Robbie Nairn was on his shoulder to crash over.

Henco Venter is  tackled by Andrew Davidson. Picture: Inpho
Henco Venter is tackled by Andrew Davidson. Picture: Inpho

Thomson converted to reduce the deficit further, but the Cheetahs replied instantly again as second row Walt Steenkamp charged through some weak Warriors tackling.

Steenkamp was finally dragged down near the line, but he popped up a pass to Rhyno Smith to score the bonus-point try which Pienaar converted.

That was the signal for the floodgates to open and Junior Pokomela, Smith and Sias Koen took the Cheetahs’ try tally to seven in the final quarter.

Smith almost completed a hat-trick in the final seconds and the Warriors were grateful for the final whistle putting them out of their misery.

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