Glasgow Warriors 37-21 Benetton Rugby

Glasgow Warriors continued their unbeaten start to the 2017/18 Guinness PRO14, with a 37-21 victory over Benetton Rugby  at Scotstoun.

Sam Johnson’s try with the final play of the game secured a try bonus-point for the hosts, who were made to work for every point by a valiant Benetton side.

With the pre-game downpour having eased off, Peter Horne was the man to get the action underway in front of a sold-out Scotstoun.

The physical nature of the opening exchanges meant the crowd had to wait until the ninth minute for the game’s first score, but it was one worth the wait. A set-piece move from a line-out on the Treviso 22 saw Horne find Tommy Seymour in space, with the British and Irish Lion racing home to dive under the posts. Horne’s conversion was a simple one, and the Warriors led 7-0.

Glasgow soon built on their initial pressure, with Horne extending the lead with a penalty on 15 minutes after sustained phases in Treviso territory.

However, the Italians had come into the game on a two-match winning run, and were showing their competitive nature. Marty Banks reduced the deficit on 23 minutes, the former Highlanders fly-half on target from the tee after Glasgow were penalised at the breakdown.

The home side’s response was to cross for their second try. After Horne was denied by an excellent cover tackle, Henry Pyrgos delivered the pass which sent Rob Harley over on his return to the starting line-up. Horne’s conversion took the score to 17-3 with 25 minutes played.

Treviso were in no mood to lie down, though, epitomised by prop Cherif Traore’s burst through the Warriors defensive line. Whilst denied a try, the Italian side was rewarded with Banks’ second penalty of the evening, taking the score to 17-6.

Tommy Seymour opened the scoring at ScotstounWith the rain returning, it was the turn of the visitors to enjoy the majority of territory and possession as the first half drew to a close. Glasgow’s defensive line held firm, though, as Treviso had to settle for another three points from the boot of Banks, leaving the half-time score at 17-9 in the home side’s favour.

The second-half began in a fiery manner, with neither side willing to take a backwards step in defence. Treviso winger Angelo Esposito found himself on the wrong side of both Ryan Wilson and the referee on 48 minutes, with the Italian international being shown a yellow card.

Horne wasted no time in extending the home side’s advantage, registering the first three points of the second period to take the score to 20-9.

Five minutes later, the former Howe of Fife man crossed for the Warriors’ third try of the night. Taking a flat pass from replacement Ali Price, Horne showed great footwork to escape the clutches of the Treviso defence, before sprinting over to touch down. The fly-half converted his own try, making it the full seven points for the home side.

The Italians hit back in their very next attack, however, as a rolling maul from five metres saw replacement Marco Lazzaroni ground the ball for their first try of the evening. From out wide, Banks’ conversion hit the post, leaving the Warriors’ advantage at 27-14.

Dave Rennie’s response was to introduce fan favourite Niko Matawalu, with the Fijian receiving a rousing reception for his first appearance at Scotstoun since his summer return to the club.

Treviso continued to attack, though, and were rewarded with their second try. After Glasgow had held off repeat phases on their own line, Federico Ruzza eventually found his way over the whitewash, with Banks’ conversion bringing his side back to within seven.

That gap was made more comfortable for the Warrior Nation on 71 minutes, as Brandon Thomson, on at fly-half for Horne, kicked a penalty to extend the lead to 30-21.

With three minutes remaining, Banks had the opportunity to put the visitors back in bonus-point territory. However, the New Zealander pushed his penalty wide of the posts, and the score remained the same.

As time ticked down, the Warrior Nation were baying for the try bonus-point. With the clock into overtime, it finally arrived. From a five-metre scrum, Price’s pass found Sam Johnson, and the Australian duly found his way to the try line for the all-important fourth try. Thomson converted for good measure to send the supporters home happy, with the final score reading 37-21 to the Warriors.

The result sees Dave Rennie’s men retain their 100% record in the Guinness PRO14, strengthening their position on top of Conference A. Next up for the Scotstoun outfit is a first-ever trip to South Africa, with the Cheetahs lying in wait in Bloemfontein next Friday.