Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


PRO14 Round 17: Zebre Rugby 10-42 Glasgow Warriors

The youngest Glasgow team that Dave Rennie had ever assembled, ably guided by some of the longer in the tooth members of the pride, tore a dishevelled Zebre to shreds, and abetted by Munster’s defeat at Parc Y Scarlets, moved to the top of Conference A.

Zebre opened the scoring through Carlo Canna’s penalty, but the feebly moustached Italian (he must have felt somewhat inadequate, maybe even emasculated, when in the vicinity of Ruairidh Jackson) stand-off’s night was to go downhill at a rate of knots from there. That was also to be the home side’s lot for the first-half, as the Warriors soon clamped their jaws round the scruff of the game’s neck.

It was from the resultant kick-off that Glasgow first bared their claws. Rob Harley gathered after Zebre had made a hash of gathering, and a few phases later Swinson was over the try-line but was held-up for a Glasgow 5m scrum. With penalty advantage from the scrum, Swinson again found himself over the try-line, but again he was held-up, so the Warriors went back to the 5m scrum. Again they got the shove on and had the advantage, but the momentum and position encouraged Matt Fagerson to pick up from the base and the back rower charged through the tackle of Tommaso Castello to put Glasgow in front.

Zebre then had a period of possession dominance and were playing with width but the Glasgow defensive wall stood firm, and took full advantage when that defensive dominance left Zebre short of numbers at the breakdown. Captain for the night, man of Italian descent Chris Fusaro, latched onto the loose ball and charged home from roughly halfway, to deliver a real sucker-punch. Hastings conversion clipped the inside of the post but it still went over for a 14-3 lead.

Stafford McDowall then channelled his inner-Matt Fagerson to take the ball from a short-range line-out and burst through Tuivaiti’s tackle to score his first Warriors’ try. It was just reward for a powerful performance from the young centre, who also topped the tackle count with 17 and on two occasions used that rocket-launcher in his left-foot to give Glasgow good field position.

The latest member of the 150-cap club, Ruairidh Jackson, sealed the try bonus before half-time with a bit of good fortune. Hastings’ grubber through ricocheted off the boot of the hapless Canna into the majestically moustached full-back’s path, and after a bit of juggling he was in by the sticks.

The next score followed soon atfer. Oli Kebble burst through one challenge and off-loaded beautifully to the onrushing Matt Fagerson for his second of the night within half an hour of play, and they nearly scored again with their next attack. Hastings, back to full-swagger mode, made another line-break and dished a no-look, pop-pass to Frisby who seemed to take a straight arm hit from the frustrated Canna. Kebble in particular took umbrage with the challenge and a penalty was given against him for a bit of argy-bargy in the aftermath to cede another threatening position, although with the Warriors in this type of mood, the threat could come from any and everywhere.

Half-time: Zebre 3 – 35 Glasgow Warriors

Mind how I said at the start about Carlo Canna not having the best of nights? Well with terrible moustache comes great irresponsibility, as he was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on within a minute of restart. Glasgow again took their pound of flesh.

Hastings went to the corner, Zebre infringed again near their line for a second bite at the rolling maul, which on this occasion Swinson took over the try-line and managed to ground. Hastings maintained his 100% accuracy off the tee with conversion number six.

In credit to the home side, they levelled the second-half scores while still down to 14 men, Castello picking a line outside of Cummings to dart over for a score which full-back Brummer converted with Canna still on the naughty step.

These were to ultimately prove to be the last points of the match, as with the game won and a raft of changes being rung, including Niko Matawalu coming on at scrum-half for the first time in years, the gravy train of tries was kept at the station.

The only other major flashpoint came in the 66th minute, when Carlo Canna, and his rubbish moustache, was ordered off the field for lashing out with his boot at replacement tight-head Darcy Rae after the Glasgow man had caught him a fraction late. A night to forget for him.

Professional and clinical, Glasgow can take these 5-points home and hope that nobody gets injured on international duty before the next fixture against Cheetahs in three weeks. They’ll pose more of an attacking threat, but you’d imagine Glasgow would have enough strength in depth to overcome that hurdle, then there’s basically three cup finals remaining as they look to book a home semi-final. For now at least, they’re in the driving seat.

Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU)

Attendance: 2500

SRBlog MOTM: crafty veterans Harley and Fusaro were excellent in defence and at the breakdown, Ruaridh Jackson displayed some nice touches and ran effectively on a big night for him, but the returning Matt Fagerson gets the nod. Showed a lot of energy round the paddock and grabbed himself a brace of tries.

7 Responses

  1. Excellent first-half performance. All went to pot in the second -half with the slew of substitutions, and the contest being over, really.

    I was reading on Twitter that some supporters hate this period of the Pro14, and I can understand why – international call-offs can distort the league in some ways. But I really enjoy seeing the next generation of players coming through, and who has the potential to have a real future at the top level.

    Looking at the big picture, we’ve given ourselves a chance of top spot (and avoiding an away day at Leinster) but I think we’ve got a harder finish than Munster, so still much work to do.

  2. I’m with you. It’s a big opportunity for the up and coming players, and they’ve acquitted themselves well this year. Looking forward to seeing more of McDowall and Kelly. The vets did well also. A top spot in the conference is likely to mean a home match against a team like Treviso, and the only team to lose a home semi I believe, is Glasgow last year. It probably saved them a drubbing from Leinster last year mind you, as they’d gone completely ‘off the boil’.

  3. Like the honesty and true reflections of committed Warriors fans on here
    So let’s get behind the guys on the pitch and truly be 16th Warriors

  4. Seeing that Dave Rennie is in the running for the Australia job if Gatland or Jones don’t want it. Scott Johnson is an admirer of Rens so Glasgow could well be looking for a new coach by the end of this year….

  5. Jamie Bhatti reportedly switching to Edinburgh next season. Thoughts? Cockers to bring him on a level?

    1. I forgot Dell was off, so that makes sense. Playing with Schoeman/alongside Nel will be good for his game as will the Cockers influence. It hasn’t been the case in less recent years but these days if I was a Scottish forward I’d be itching to sign for Edinburgh…

      PS thanks for posting this in the right place!

You might also like these:

The Scotland team to face Chile this weekend has been announced and features 10 changes from the side that beat the USA last weekend.
Rory watches as Scotland reach the half way point in their tour with victory over the USA in Washington.
Craig is joined by Rory and Iain to look at the latest news including Scotland's win over Canada and the upcoming test against the USA.
Gregor Townsend has picked the strongest XV possible from his touring squad for the visit to Washington DC to play the USA, writes Rory.

Scottish Rugby News and Opinion