Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


PRO14 Round 13: Benetton Treviso 20-17 Glasgow Warriors

Treviso v Glasgow
© Scottish Rugby Blog

Following on from the double-headed disaster of the 1872 Cup games, Glasgow travelled to Italy looking for a confidence boost, but left with the bitter taste of defeat lingering in their mouths.

Treviso came out hard, and after Adam Hastings had a “bad Finn” moment and fluffed a floated pass from near his own try-line, lock Dean Budd bustled his way over the try-line.

Glasgow struck back quickly: the swivel-hipped stand-off’s quick tap and go penalty from inside his own half gave Stafford McDowall the opportunity to breenge deep into Treviso’s territory. The returning Sam Johnson eventually made the pressure count, taking George Horne’s pass from a scrum, stepping off his left foot and powering past a couple of defenders to finish. Hastings’ conversion levelled the scores.

What used to be considered a 5-point banker trip to northern Italy is not the forgone conclusion it used to be. Treviso, sitting 3rd in Conference B at the start of play, came again with some adventurous play, and after successive 5m line-out drives Budd again went over. Tommaso Allan, who could’ve played for Scotland don’t you know, missed the extras.

With the tempo set at “allegretto”, both sides were making errors, but the Italian defence was aggressive enough to repel Glasgow’s efforts. Wilson broke the line, but he failed to release Horne-ito (the only Horne in town today, so I’ll just call him Horne from now on). Then Swinson broke free and did manage to feed the speedy scrum-half, but his pass on to Matawalu came off a Treviso hand and Niko couldn’t gather the bobbling ball.

Glasgow were in the ascendency and camped in Treviso’s half with 10 minutes remaining. With an easy 3-pointer on offer for Hastings, Glasgow went to the corner. That line-out came to nothing, but when Treviso again cleared to the line, Glasgow made them pay. Johnson found a couple of forwards in midfield to dance around, and as we’ve seen so often in the last 2 seasons, it was Horne running the support line on his inside shoulder to go in under the posts.

After a shaky start, particularly from Hastings, Glasgow seemed to have found their feet and went into the break with a 2-point lead.

Half-time: Benetton Treviso 12 – 14 Glasgow Warriors

The second half started brightly for Glasgow as Chris Fusaro won a turnover penalty to give Glasgow good field position, but Treviso defended stoutly for close to seven minutes of Glasgow attack until winger Robbie Nairn knocked on.

The home side weren’t to be so profligate with their possession. They showed patience to run through the phases, twenty-one in total, and even when Allan’s pass went too high and slowed momentum with the try-line beckoning, they regained their composure until Number 8 Braam Steyn burst through Ruaridh Jackson’s weak tackle.

Glasgow rang the changes, including Lee Jones replacing the ineffectual Nairn, and he gathered Hastings’ cross-kick to set the Warriors on their way again, but with only 10 metres between them and another 5-points, Hastings’ zipped pass was knocked-on by Wilson. Allan cleared lengthily for the home side, but Johnson again provided the impetus forcing Treviso to concede a penalty which Hastings knocked over to level it up at 17-17 with just over an hour gone.

The magnificently coiffured Hastings was having a see-saw kind of match. He tried another cross-kick to Jones, which was picked off, and then when he recovered the kick ahead, his pass to Johnson went forward to gift Treviso a scrum close to the Glasgow line. He was then pinged for offside, and with advantage to Treviso, Esposito’s failure to gather Hayward’s pass was all that prevented Treviso claiming another try. Treviso’s Allan, who I may have to now refer to as Allan-ito, given that the far larger Alex Allan had come on in the front-row for Glasgow, took the easy option of 3-points.

“Big Allan” was then held-up over the line after some effective grunt work from the Glasgow pack, Cummings proving particularly bullish for the first time in the match. They won a penalty at the scrum and called for another. Horne probed, Wilson and Cummings charged, and space was created out wide. Hastings passed out to Matawalu for what would have been a simple score, but Hastings pass was forward. Again.

He seems to do that quite a lot.

The see-saw was now firmly tipped against him, as if Oli Kebble and Zander Fagerson were on one side, and there was Adam left high and dry with his luscious locks blowing in the wind.

Brandon Thomson replaced him for the final few minutes, but he too had a skinny kid on the see-saw moment. Kickable attempts at goal had previously been turned down, but to try and level the scores, the Warriors went for it. Thomson missed. Ian McKinley kicked the drop-out long and Ashe spilled it. To further compound the misery, Ryan Wilson then stupidly picked the ball up, so rather than a scrum, which Glasgow had started to nudge ahead in, Treviso had a dead-time penalty to seal the deal. McKinley dropped it just short which Jackson claimed, meaning Glasgow had one more chance, but surely they couldn’t?

No. They could not.

Horne spilled the ball forward in the tackle. A run of 40 games unbeaten against Italian opposition was at an end, and a hat-trick of disappointment was completed.

Lacking in defensive intensity, Hastings blowing quite a lot more cold than hot, and with none of the forwards able to bully their opposite numbers or disrupt Treviso ball, this was another poor performance.

Referee: Joy Neville (IRFU)

SR Blog MOTM: Centre Sam Johnson. Took his try brilliantly, fed Horne for his, and was the most threatening of the backs. None of the forwards should be happy with their efforts.

17 Responses

  1. I’m trying really hard not to be too negative. It was only a few short weeks ago that we were smashing Lyon, hammering Scarlet’s with 14 men, running rings around Cardiff and feeling ‘cheated’ against Saracens. I refuse to accept that we’ve become a bad team, rather that we’re a good team who were tactically out-thought over the 1872 cup games and as a result now have a bit of a confidence crisis. If I’m being honest, I think the team and supporters collectively panicked after the first loss at Murrayfield. There was a lot of gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands and in the end we’d lost that game between the ears and long before we set foot on the pitch.

    I don’t pretend to know enough about rugby coaching to question the team selection or tactics, but I do wonder why our confidence seems to be so fragile?

    1. The 1872 cup results were good for Edinburgh. It would be outstanding for both scottish sides to get to the finals in both competitions.

  2. Benetton are a decent side, Glasgow did not show enough respect.

    For those who recall the Grand Slam decider in 1990 , England squandered kicks at goal and never scored the promised tries. Despite all the subsequent Grand Slams, the one thing those players remember , is losing the 1990 slam.

    Let’s hope Glasgow have learned their lesson at no detriment.

    1. That’s a bit simplistic and ignores the fact that not taking kicks at goal in favour of chasing the try is something Glasgow have done consistently (and successfully) against all comers, a recognition I suppose of the importance of the 4 try bonus point. I think the lines begin to become blurred though when they have to shift gear from trying to score 4 tries to having to grind out a win – I’m not daft enough to think we don’t have a plan B, but it’s certainly not been used as much as the plan A, so it’s rusty, clunky and misfiring a bit.

      1. As I was taught all through my rugby career, take the points first and then go for the tries. Make the other side chase the game

      2. Sorry !!! I have not ignored ‘the fact’ at all.

        I am a fairly simplistic bloke and even I know that Glasgow have been making an a*se of the lineout when kicking to the corner . We only need to look at the 1872 games to see they are not’ consistent or successful’ in wining their line out penalties , which you suggest is a ‘fact’.

        Neither is It a ‘fact’ that Glasgow always kick to the corner. Glasgow have taken kicks at goal from time to time.

        it is just your opinion and it is offensive to accuse me of ignoring facts that are nothing of the sort.

  3. I would rather have Horne and Hastings pushing themselfs to there limits and learning what there maximum ability to play consistently well is at than being conservative.

    Imagine if Stuart Hogg, Niko Matawalu and Finn Russell where conservative players a few years back, Hoggy and Finn did not have all there tactical play right to begin with but that came with experience. There attitude was wrongly questioned at times also and ‘supporters’ mistook that for arrogance.
    its just a determination and confidence to be the best they can be. Bad patches will happen, get over it.

    1. Yeah, exactly. If we’re going to get all excited and animated when Glasgow go full Harlem Globe Trotter, we need to accept that occasionally the wheels might come off, I’m just surprised that we seem to have gone into our shell a wee bit and we’re struggling to come out.

      Your man Ben above seems a bit excitable though, so we should probably be wary of posting anything too sensible.

      1. Andy – I am the least excitable man here. Seen it all before. I merely took offence at you accusing me of being ignorant of a fact that you fabricated, who would’nt.

        Neil – I agree, there is a time to take risks and it is not when you are building a score. It is wise to play to your strengths and as we learned from the 1872 games, the Glasgow line out is not a strength at the moment. It was the wrong time, wrong game IMO. Try it on at Scotstoun when we are well ahead and as you rightly point out , that time will come.I am sure you will correct me if I am wrong.

        Andy – here is another basic tactic. If you need to pick a big lad to help you clear out your ruck, make sure he is big enough to support you.

      2. Not sure why you chose to take offence, but just to be clear the comment was pointing out that Glasgow have a track record of choosing to go for the corner more often that taking the kick at goal, and that the majority of the time that’s been successful, it’s therefore overly simplistic to suggest that they need to stop doing that and kick at goal more often – you don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Suggesting they didn’t respect the Italians is simple nonsense.

        I look for no support whilst clearing rucks, but find fault with arm flappers who cry foul when in reality there’s nothing to see….are you Pyrgos in disguise?? Have a good one

  4. Must admit I love Glasgow’s all court game and hate seeing them play more conservatively or smothered by defenses. Sometimes it comes off sometime it doesn’t. I’d watch Brazil over Italy playing football any day!

    I think a point here that is being missed is that the Glasgow forwards have gone back in to their shell after a rampant couple of months. Not sure what the tipping point was. Was it our first and second choice hooker getting injured. They were both in the form of their lives. Has Kebble picked up a niggle? Were they surprised by how good Edinburgh’s tight five were, they shouldn’t be. No longer sure Rennie knows what his best back row combination is. Has the forward coach announcing he’s leaving had an impact? Gibbins picking up cards and missing the last game makes the pack look relatively rudderless.

    Sorting all that out and getting the forwards snorting and rampaging again will generate the kind of ball the backs need to shine. Lets hope it happens this weekend.

    1. Totally agree re Hooker. There are obvious things like lineouts in opposition half going wrong which is always going to undermine you a bit, but lineouts seems to be working well in Italy so maybe Turner and Brown were also more effective in clearing the rucks and securing quicker ball then perhaps Stewart is. If that’s the case, then maybe that also explains why Gibbons has out of nowhere had 2 yellow cards – perhaps putting himself into positions that he didn’t need to before to try and do the job that Turner/Brown were doing.

      1. Yes, both Brown and Turner give you an extra ball carrier/jackler and that is being missed.

        The other thing I would say is that the maul attack and defense has gone backwards in the last 3 weeks. When we kick to the corners we don’t look like scoring through the forwards the way we did earlier in the season.

        I think we need to go to the backs more often or sooner when we are close to the line to force defenses to defend wider against us. Way too many one out passes that is relatively easy to defend.

      2. Or take the points .Common sense seems to have gone the same way as the lineout maul.

    2. Glasgows best back row is simply 6. Fagerson 7. Gibbins 8. Ashe with Wilson on the bench. its just a backrow which wont be good enough against the likes on Edinburghs or Leinsters but its the best available.

      Just need some consistency in selection i think and some motivation/confidence.

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