NO team wants to hit their peak too early in the season, so it is perhaps just as well for Warriors that they fell away dramatically during the final half hour of this match after an opening 50 minutes which head coach Danny Wilson described afterwards as the best rugby the team has played so far during his tenure at the club. 

By the time a disallowed try for centre Sione Tuipulotu precipitated a curious collapse in the home team’s performance levels, Warriors had already claimed the four-try bonus point and built up a lead which kept them out of reach from a late Sharks surge which brought tries for Thomas Du Toit and Ntuthuko Mchunu. 

“I thought the first 50 minutes was outstanding,” said head coach Wilson afterwards. “We played some really good rugby and scored some great tries. Had that try been allowed on 50 minutes, I think we could have scored again and found another gear, but it was disallowed and for some reason the wind went out the game. 

“There were loads of stoppages, loads of delays, loads of watching the screen. Then we made some changes, which was the right time to make them, and slowly but surely the momentum seemed to disappear.  

“On top of that we fed them a couple of times to get field position because we couldn't seem to get down the other end of the pitch,” he added. “They've got some good players, they're dangerous, so credit to them for working their way back into it when they were really dead and buried with us having scored five tries on 50 minutes. They could have rolled over, but they didn't. “ 

Warriors were straight onto the offensive with No8 Jack Dempsey collecting the kick-off and releasing Rufus McLean with a subtle back-handed offload out of contact, triggering an attack which culminated in stand-off Ross Thompson looping round between his centres to  dot down under the posts. 

Sharks had a chance to get off the mark, but full-back Curwin Bosch pushed his penalty attempt following a Warriors offside to the right of the posts, and the home side capitalised on that let-off by marching straight back up field to score again through co-captain Ryan Wilson, who peeled off a maul and burrowed home. 

With Thompson converting both those early tries, Sharks found themselves 14 points down with just 14 minutes played, and to compound their situation they were also temporarily reduced to 14 men when blindside flanker Dylan Richardson paid the price for his team’s persistent infringements. 

Jamie Bhatti was next in on the act, marking his first Warriors start since returning from two years in exile by muscling in for his first try in six seasons of pro rugby.  

Sharks did rally briefly as the clock ticked past the half hour mark and got their reward from a period of sustained pressure when second-row Le Roux Roets managed to get downward pressure amid a pile of bodies on the Warriors try-line, and Bosch whipped over the easy conversion. 

However, Warriors were soon back on top and claimed the bonus point when a long and lucid passage of play culminated in McLean sending Cole Forbes in for try number four. 

Bosch’s decision to kick three points just before the break - instead of going to the corner in search of five or seven points - suggested that this was already an exercise in damage limitation for the hapless hosts. 

Warriors started the second half as they had the first, with Forbes collecting his own chip ahead to claim his second try of the match three minutes after the restart, and Thompson extended his immaculate goal-kicking record with a fifth consecutive conversion. 

Then came the turning point, when a clever back-row move saw George Horne escape on an arching run, before feeding Tuipulotu on his inside for a powerful thrust to the line Ben Whitehouse asked the Television Match Official to have a closer look, and it was decided that Tuipulotu had obstructed a Sharks defender earlier in the move. 

Warriors lost their mojo after that, with Du Toit and Mchunu scoring consolation tries as Sharks dominated the final half hour. The visitors got closer than they really deserved to be, but didn’t really threaten to upturn the applecart. 

“I don’t want to be too negative about the way it drifted away, we should be positive about a bonus point win against a side we don't know a lot about but which has a lot of talented players,” concluded Wilson. 

“Two points in Ulster followed by this bonus point win gives us a reasonable start, and if we can go and get a win next week then that's a good start,” he added. 

“That first 50 minutes is up there with the best we've played since I've been here. To be as dominant as we were makes it the best we've played. It's a template for how we want to play.” 

Glasgow Warriors: C Forbes; K Steyn, S Tuipulotu, S Johnson (S McDowall 55), R McLean; R Thompson (P Horne 77), G Horne (J Dobie 62); J Bhatti (B Thyer 50), F Brown (G Turner 50-78), M McCallum (M Walker 62), R Gray (L Bean 70), S Cummings, R Wilson (A Miller 70), T Gordon, J Dempsey. 

Sharks: C Bosch (T Meyer 70); Y Penxe, W Kok (J Ward 50), M Koster, T Abrahams; B Chamberlain, R Pienaar; K Mona (N Mchunu 55), F Mbatha (K van Vuuren 51), T du Toit (L Adriaanse, 76), L Roets (H Andrews50), R van Heerden, D Richardson, G Grobler (T Bholi 55), P Buthelezi (J Venter 67).  

Referee: B Whitehouse 

Scorers: Glasgow Warriors: Tries: Thompson, Wilson, Bhatti, Forbes 2; Con: Thompson 5. 

Sharks: Try: Roets, du Toit, Mchunu; Con: Bosch 2, Pienaar; Pen: Bosch. 

Scoring sequence (Glasgow Warriors first): 5-0; 7-0; 12-0; 14-0; 19-0; 21-0; 21-5; 21-7; 26-7; 28-7; 28-10 (h-t) 33-10; 35-10; 35-15; 35-17; 35-22; 35-24. 


Yellow cards: Glasgow Warriors: Bean (73mins) 

Sharks: Richardson (14mins)