A spirited Glasgow fightback saw the Warriors rescue two losing bonus points in a thrilling 40-34 clash in Pretoria that had threatened to turn ugly for the visitors. 

The visitors were 34-10 down inside the final quarter, but tries from captain Kyle Steyn, Sebastian Cancelliere and Duncan Weir within 10 minutes put them in contention for a famous comeback.  

Ultimately the Bulls saw a thrilling game out, but the visitors remain in contention for a home semi-final after their late fightback.  

It started well for Glasgow, who took the lead when Matt Fagerson powered over, but the Bulls struck back when hooker Akker van der Merwe, brother of Duhan, scored their opening try, taking immediate advantage of a yellow card to Glasgow captain Kyle Steyn for a tip-tackle. Chris Smith levelled the scores at 7-7 with the conversion.  

The visitors could not stop number eight Cameron Hanekom, who powered over with Glasgow still a man down. Smith again converted.  

George Horne cut the gap with a penalty, but the Bulls extended their lead to 24-10 when Elrigh Louw finished a breakaway just before the interval. 

The home side clinched the bonus point when Canan Moodie touched down early in the second half before Glasgow’s comeback, started by a score from Steyn, continued by Cancelliere and a third quick-fire score from Duncan Weir, who then kicked a last minute penalty to secure two losing bonus points.  

Here are five things we learned from a thrilling contest at Loftus Versfeld.  

Excellent impact from Glasgow's bench 

The world champion Springboks have become famous for sending on a raft of forward replacements – the ‘bomb squad’ - early in matches and Franco Smith deployed his own by hooking his entire front-row on the half-hour.  

Nathan McBeth and Zander Fagerson made good impact around the field, and the introduction of Glasgow’s bench in the second half not only stemmed the flow of Bulls attacks but turned the tide in favour of the visitors.  

Jamie Dobie increased the tempo, Euan Ferrie and Henco Venter resourced the breakdowns and Max Williamson was direct. It transformed the Warriors in the closing stages.  

The importance of scoreboard pressure 

Both sides showed the importance of applying scoreboard pressure at key moments. Glasgow, who rarely opt for three points from a kickable penalty, called for the kicking tee just after the half-hour when their previous attacking phase had amounted to nothing.  

The home side followed suit shortly after, and Glasgow should have called for the tee again just before the break, but Horne tapped and from his loose pass, the hosts countered and captain Elrigh Louw went over.  

A fourth try for the hosts early in the second half ultimately gave Glasgow too much to rescue victory despite their fightback.  

Yellow card costly 

In the first quarter of an hour, Glasgow looked reasonably comfortable without the ball, but when they lost Kyle Steyn to a tip-tackle, the Bulls not only took immediate advantage with van der Merwe going over and scoring in the space Steyn would have defended from the lineout, but they caused Glasgow problems out wide.  

More lineout innovation  

Regular observers of Glasgow will by now be well used to seeing Stafford McDowall join lineouts close to the opposition try line, and even used as a jumping option. There was more innovation from the visitors early on here as Grant Stewart found Matt Fagerson, who powered over Canan Moodie for the game’s opening score. Bulls first try also came from a similar move.  

Hosts’ power game too much for Glasgow 

The Bulls might have an all-Springbok back three, but their game is based around power and Glasgow found it too difficult to deal with this afternoon.  

Cameron Hanekom’s try was all power from the number eight, while fleet-footed winger Canan Moodie may have finished off the bonus point score, the move was started by powerful carrying by the Bulls pack.  

Altitude clearly had an impact on the Warriors, but they’ll need to be better if they’re to overcome the Lions in Johannesburg next weekend.  

Bulls: Willie le Roux, Canan Moodie, David Kriel, Harold Vorster, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Chris Smith, Embrose Papier (Burger 66); Gerhard Steenekamp (Matanzima 67), Akker van der Merwe (Grobbelaar 50), Wilco Louw (Klopper 67), Ruan Vermaak, Ruan Nortje (c) (Ludwig 65), Marcon van Staden (Carr 44), Elrigh Louw (c), Cameron Hanekom 

Tries: van der Merwe (15), Hanekom (24), Louw (37), Moodie (44) 

Conversions: Smith (16, 24, 38, 45) 

Penalties: Smith (34, 57, 61, 77) 

Glasgow Warriors: Josh McKay, Kyle Steyn (c), Stafford McDowall, Sione Tuipulotu, Sebastian Cancelliere, Tom Jordan (Weir 67), George Horne (Dobie 55); Jamie Bhatti (McBeth 31) (Bhatti 79), Grant Stewart (Matthews 31), Murphy Walker (Z Fagerson 31), Gregor Brown (Williamson 45), Scott Cummings, Matt Fagerson (Venter 45), Rory Darge (Ferrie 55), Jack Dempsey 

Tries: M Fagerson (6), Steyn (63), Cancelliere (68), Weir (71) 

Conversions: Horne (7), Jordan (65), Weir (68, 71) 

Penalties: Horne (29), Weir (80) 

Yellow card: Steyn (15) 

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU) 

Player of the Match: Ruan Vermaak