GLASGOW face an uphill battle to claim a top-four finish in the URC after a convincing defeat last night in Cape Town. The Warriors began well enough, opening the scoring through a Jack Dempsey try, and they were only six points behind at half-time. After the break, however, they fell away badly.

With two games of the regular season to go - away to the Bulls and then Edinburgh - Danny Wilson’s side may need points from both if they are to end up in the league’s leading quartet and thus have a home quarter-final. If they finish in fifth to eighth place they will be on the road in the last eight, which could mean a return to South Africa. And that, on the evidence of this game at the DHL Stadium, is something they will very much want to avoid.

“We need to go and take points now from the Bulls game,” head coach Wilson said. “We’ve been top four all season and knew that these last three games were going to be huge.”

Kyle Steyn left the field early with an achilles injury, while Sam Johnson damaged an ankle in the second half. It is not yet known how bad either injury is, but, while the loss of those two backs did not help the Warriors’ cause, Wilson did not try to make excuses after another match in which his team faded badly.

“It’s a common theme,” the head coach added. “We struggled with a little bit of adversity and made too many errors - that’s the cycle that we now need to break. We’ve been good for 40 minutes in most games; second halves haven’t been as good. It is definitely something that we need to look at.”

That is clearly a significant understatement by Wilson. His players did not appear to run out of steam, but once more they seemed unable to summon up the mental stamina needed to stay in the contest from first to last.

That slow collapse was all the more disappointing given the enterprising nature of their play in the first quarter, which saw them open the scoring after Ross Thompson sent a penalty to touch. Their maul went nowhere, but the ball came back inside, and, after Rory Darge was held up on the line, Dempsey forced his way over from a metre out.

The Stormers looked stunned by that reverse for a time, but eventually got off the mark thanks to a flying tackle from Rikus Pretorius on Thompson. The Glasgow stand-off was penalised for holding on, and Libbok was on target this time from 35m out.

It was a score that energised the South Africans, who took the lead on their next attack. A lineout maul gained good ground, then full-back Damian Willemse drifted across field from the left wing before putting Pretorius through with a smartly-timed pass.    

Libbok converted, then added a penalty in the closing minute of the half after Sam Johnson had strayed offside. It was a disappointing end to the first 40 for Glasgow given how well they had played in the first 20, but in truth they were lucky to be only 13-7 adrift, as Libbok had knocked on close to the line just before his penalty.

With Warrick Gelant on at full-back and controlling play with some expertly-judged kicks, the momentum was still with the home side in the early stages of the second half. They had to wait patiently all the same for further scores, but then two came in quick succession: first scrum-half Herschel Jantjies finished off a counter-attack, and then winger Leolin Zas touched down on the left. Libbok converted the Zas try to all but put the outcome beyond doubt.

That left the Stormers with one try to find in order to secure the bonus point. They got it with seconds to spare when Evan Roos weaved his way through three defenders to touch down on the left. Libbok’s conversion ended the match.

Scorers: Stormers: Tries: Pretorius, Jantjies, Zas, Roos. Cons: Libbok 3. Pens: Libbok 2.

Glasgow: Try: Dempsey. Con: Thompson. 

Yellow card: Glasgow McKay 68.

Stormers: D Willemse; S Senatla (B Dixon 72), R Nel, R Pretorius (W Gelant 41), L Zas; M Libbok, H Jantjies (P de Wet 69); S Kitshoff (capt, A Vermaak 63), S Ntubeni (J Kotze 50), F Malherbe (B Harris 63), A Smith (S Moerat 55), M Orie, J Pokomela (N Xaba 64), H Dayimani, E Roos. 

Glasgow Warriors: O Smith; J McKay, S Tuipulotu, S Johnson (J Dobie 60), K Steyn (C Forbes 16); R Thompson (D Weir 63), A Price (capt); O Kebble (J Bhatti 49), J Matthews (G Turner 58), Z Fagerson (S Berghan 65), R Gray, K McDonald (R Harley 48), A Miller, R Darge (T Gordon 78), J Dempsey. 

Referee: A Brace (Ireland).