Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Glasgow 31-14 Treviso

Tim Swinson - pic © Al Ross/Novantae Photography
Tim Swinson - pic © Al Ross/Novantae Photography

Glasgow named a strong side for the visit of Italian basement boys Treviso, with Gregor Townsend no doubt determined to get his side’s confidence back after the previous weeks battering from Munster. Seymour and Horne returned to action and waiting on the bench for debut were giant lock Brian Alainu’uese and back row powerhouse Langilangi Haupeakui.

Glasgow started well, with Stuart Hogg racing over the try line after only 90 seconds following a lovely chip and chase. Hogg dived over, but managed to lose the ball forward, to the frustration of the Scotstoun crowd. Apologies all round from the Scotland full back and he was at it just two minutes later, crossing the whitewash again only to be called back by referee David Wilkinson who disapproved of a quick lineout throw from the home side. On this superstitious weekend, Glasgow and Hogg could be forgiven for thinking it might not be their night.

Jonny Gray was one of the few Glasgow players to come out of the Munster game with any credit, and it was the young co-captain who got the scoreboard moving. With eight minutes gone, some nice positioning in contact and brute strength from Gray saw him dot down, with Russell adding the extras. Glasgow were more than good for their 7-0 lead.

It really was all Glasgow at this stage and Mark Bennett added another score on 12 minutes, a searing break taking him away from three would-be tacklers. Bennett looked lively all evening and looks to be playing himself back into form after his sevens exploits in Rio. Finn Russell couldn’t add the conversion from out wide, but at 12-0 the only real question to be answered was – how many?

Treviso gave Glasgow problems in this fixture last year, but it was totally against the run of play that the Italians got on the board this time. A hack through saw Alex Dunbar tackle the Treviso player off the ball, which prevented a certain try. Yellow for Dunbar, a penalty try given by Wilkinson and Treviso were right back in business at 12-7. In hindsight this was probably the right decision from Wilkinson, but more on him later.

Glasgow with 14 men still looked very dangerous, and it was no surprise that they scored next. A set play on the Treviso 22 was executed beautifully by Rory Hughes at pace. The big Castlemilk winger is a real handful, combining decent pace with bulk and a sensational work ethic and is bang in form. Russell converted from in front of the sticks to restore the 12 point lead at 19-7.

Glasgow continued to dominate the play and Dunbar, fresh from his stint on the naughty step, scored the bonus point try right before half time. Like Gray earlier, the centre showed immense strength to shake off three tackles to cross the line. Wilkinson did his best to find a reason to chalk it off but Glasgow had the bonus and a healthy half time lead to build on.

HT Glasgow 26 – 7 Treviso

With the bonus in the bag, Glasgow supporters would have been expecting their team to kick on and build a healthy points margin against the team with the worst defensive record in the Pro12 this season. Hughes was in the mood for more too, and another well worked effort got him over the line for his double. Russell missed the conversion, and Townsend used the opportunity to ring some changes, getting Alainu’uese and Haupeakui on and resting Russell and Pyrgos all before the hour mark.

Haupeakui has arrived with a reputation for big hits, big carries and plenty of yellow cards, and we got the full package in his memorable debut. The big USA international got his first yellow after just seven minutes on the park, with Wilkinson suggesting he had failed to wrap his arms during a thunderous hit in midfield. I would suggest this was really harsh, and fully expect that every time Dan Lydiate performs his remarkably similar trademark chop tackle he will now be cautioned. Not a chance.

Treviso used their own numerical advantage well, with a textbook rolling maul crushing the Glasgow defence and giving them another 5 points. Tommy Allan added the extras, and Treviso were finally able to exert some pressure on their hosts but by this point the scoreboard and clock were both against them at 31-14 with 15 minutes left.

Wilkinson had been frustratingly inconsistent, punishing minor infractions, threatening red cards to players and ignoring four red zone penalties by Treviso in the same amount of minutes. He did manage to achieve some level of consistency though with Haupeakui given a second yellow, for another ‘no arms’ hit. This decision was even worse than the first, and I can’t help but feel that Wilkinson may have had a preconception about the American backrow. It was, however, the first time I have seen a crowd cheer and give a great reception to a player who had been sent off, and from the short spell on the pitch I can really see Haupeakui becoming a big hit with the Scotstoun crowd.

More worrying for the Glasgow and Scotland management was the head knock that the returning Pete Horne took in the middle of the incident. Fingers crossed it is not a bad one as he’s one of a number of key Scotland squad players despearately short of match fitness.

So 5 league points, a decent first half, a terrible second and some memorable debuts. The Warriors will have their work cut out over the international period but the depth in the squad is excellent and I look forward to seeing some of the new faces get some more game time.

SRBlog Man of the Match: The sponsor’s award went to Rory Hughes and no complaints from me on that one. The big winger was everywhere, showing power, pace and determination in every carry. The heir apparent to the Sean Lamont School of Bosh. Honourable mentions to Simone Favaro, who was in some mess when he came off, and Jonny Gray, who continues to be consistently spectacular, without attracting any of the real plaudits that should be coming his way.

Glasgow Warriors: Hogg, Seymour, Bennett, Dunbar, Hughes, Russell, Pyrgos, Allan, MacArthur, Puafisi, Swinson, Gray, Strauss, Favaro, Wilson.
Replacements: Jones for Hughes (55), Horne for Russell (59), Price for Pyrgos (59), Sears-Duru for Allan (70), Malcolm for MacArthur (51), Rae for Puafisi (51), Alainu’uese for Swinson (51), Haupeakui for Favaro (55).
Sin Bin: Dunbar (23), Haupeakui (62).
Sent Off: Haupeakui (78).
Benetton Treviso: Hayward, Odiete, Iannone, Sgarbi, Pratichetti, McKinley, Tebaldi, Quaglio, Bigi, Ferrari, Gerosa, Fuser, Budd, Zanni, Steyn.
Replacements: Esposito for Pratichetti (55), Allan for McKinley (51), Gori for Tebaldi (59), Zani for Quaglio (59), Giazzon for Bigi (51), Pasquali for Ferrari (59), Barbini for Zanni (41), Minto for Steyn (70).

12 Responses

  1. I thought Hoggy forgot the surface wasn’t grass & you cannot slide in on a dry plastic surface (maybe hadn’t played on a dry surface in Glasgow for a while).
    The game was over at 1/2 time & frustrating fare in the 2nd

  2. No doubts about the man of the match Rory Clegg all night long.

    Haupeakui: I thought the first yellow was harsh and the second was just an messy accident as he was falling over a low tackling Glasgow player and the moment of impact. Reluctantly a border line one, but a yellow.

    On the positive he took three to stop him on every run and was there for the tackles. I can see this guy learning a lot , to our benefit, at Glasgow.

    Alainu’uese was competent and a handful for the opposition at the line out.

    No surprise on the result, 5 points, the emerging players and the bench are looking quite handy.

    Favaro , sore face. Ouch ..I heard Frankenstein is out guising in a Simone Favaro mask this Halloween.

    1. I thought Haupeakui was poor overall…some good carries and big hits, but low field awareness and game sense…doesn’t really seem much of a team man…but first game I suppose.

      The second yellow was a badly missed tackle, caused by going for a Lima-style hit, that also caused head-high contact to a fellow player…reckless, dangerous and worthy of a yellow…also ineffective.

      First yellow was undeserved tho….not sure exactly how you “wrap the arms” in that situation?

  3. I watched the game and thought the refereeing performance was one of the worst I’ve seen for a good while!

    I know it’s difficult to look at things objectively, and I also feel that Glasgow have a reputation as a bit if a dirty team, but some of the decisions couldn’t be fathomed. at the time I thought the Dunbar yellow was harsh as I didn’t think it was a clear opportunity, and I thought that Haupeakui’s first was very harsh too. Also where was the Treviso yellow for persistent penalties close to their line

    it just seems whenever Glasgow have an Irish ref then they are looking for the slightest excuse to either produce a yellow or chalk off a try.

    PS loved the remark about Lydiate, spot on! About as much chance as him getting penalised as Ireland getting pinged for their persistent offences in and ahead of the breakdown!!

  4. Haupeakui will get better. The referee had obviously made his mind up about him beforehand. Both yellows were questionable. Still, he will have to work on his discipline.

    Alainu’uese did well for a guy who has been with the squad for such a short time. Looks like a decent acquisition.

    I thought Mr. Whistler was appalling. Only outdone by Linton.

    I wouldn’t really want to inflict this on the Championship in England, but surely there must be some room for cross competition referee exchanges. Send some of the Pro 12 wannabes to England and have some of their guys do Pro 12. All to be independently assessed. I would like transparency in the assessments but I guess that’s too revolutionary altogether.

    On a side note those that have Sky, and watched, will have seen London Irish give London Scottish a demonstration of the gulf between Championship and Premiership (ok, they are both Championship now, but you won’t get much odds on LI going back up). Sorry Ben Robbins didn’t like it, lot of competition on the wing. All of the others (5 not eight) are getting good game time, with Miller starting just about every game @ 8.

  5. Wilkinson is the worst ref in the northern hemisphere bar none.
    Luckily it didn’t matter on Friday but it will in other games. Incredibly, his day job is ref development in Ireland. Although maybe it’s not so incredible.

    Agree Irish were in a different league to Scottish. Thought Miller showed well in a well beaten team. And Cowan also shone, particularly throwing in to the lineout !

  6. Just a comment on the line out. As soon as Pat Mac went off, the line-out became a shambles. Not sure what happened to Corey Flynn as he was originally named as a sub, but James Malcolm is capable of much better. He is quick around the park but his throwing was very poor on Friday, possibly not helped by so many new faces and confusion about the calls.

  7. An interesting game with plenty to get us all talking.

    Glasgow still looked uncertain following last weeks shambles in Munster and Russell still looks like he’s trying too hard to force the game. His place kicking is not improving either. Pyrgos was not great and I thought Price looked snappier when he came on. Dunbar and Bennett were better than the oppo but the natural fluidity of the backs just insnt quite there yet. The timing and angles of runs need to come natural but again I think they’re forcing things and playing to a script that is often one or two lines behind the reality of the performance! The scrum is causing me some concern as I see the front five pushed back on their own ball all too often.

    Now, the ref. What to say? Well, law 10.4(g) states a player must not charge an opponent with “trying” to grasp him. There is no penalty if you try but fail and yet this ref decided he did not “complete the wrap”, his words, ergo a penalty and yellow. I can’t see how either yellows were justified on the above wording of the law. Dunbars on the other hand was a clear yellow. If he commits a penalty offence you remove him from the equation and a try would almost certainly have been scored.

    However, one correct decision does not mitigate his other mistakes. I want to know why we aren’t given more information from WR, Pro12 and the refereeing supervisors when this sort of nonsense happens all too often and us poor spectators are deemed unworthy of an explanation. The silence is deafening and not worthy of a modern professional sport. The ref MUST be sacrosanct during the game but unless we are aware that mistakes are highlighted after match and refs admit to and learn from them, we are only going to continue to assume that the ivory towered officialdom of WR etc. is looking after itself and to hell with the rest of us.

  8. At one time the referee’s decisions were indeed sacrosanct. I see TMO intervention as a necessary evil in the modern, professional era but the game against Treviso provided good examples of the fact that, even with the benefit of slow-motion replays at multiple angles, both the referee and the TMO can arrive at poor decisions. Dunbar’s tackle could have been considered to have prevented a Treviso try IF it hadn’t been immediately preceded by a knock-on by a Treviso player. That earlier offence should have resulted in a Glasgow scrum instead.
    It seems too that particular offences become “fashionable” amongst the refereeing fraternity. Recently it was interference in the air of a follow-up kicker…..Dan Biggar’s histrionics were particularly appealing to the whistlers, and in one international resulted in an unjustified yellow card for Russell Finn. Now no-arms tackles are under officialdom’s microscope. If one looks closely at Langi’s second “offence”, resulting in a red card, he is driving forward to make a low tackle — and for ANY tackle to be effective shoulder contact must be made simultaneously with arm-wrapping — and it is only the side-step of his target that gives the tackle a false appearance of recklessness and illegality. Once again, very poor TMO intervention.
    I also agree wholeheartedly with Frazer’s comments about Irish play in and in front of the breakdown. The speed of their brutal mayhem makes it difficult to identify the illegalities in time!

  9. Both yellow cards for Langi rescinded by the disciplinary committee. Wilkinson running the line for Scarlets v Glasgow on Saturday night. Hmmmm . . .

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion