Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Guinness Rainbow Cup: Bennetton 46 – 19 Glasgow Warriors

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Glasgow’s Rainbow Cup campaign got off to the worst possible start after swashbuckling Benetton dominated Warriors and gave them what can only be described as a morale sapping bit of a doing ahead of the 1872 Cup decider next week.

Monty Ioane scored early for the hosts in the corner after a bright Glasgow start. Having made their way into the Benetton 22 after a number of phases and looking confident with ball in hand, Sam Johnson tried a Finn Russell-like grubber which was blocked off. Marco Zanon was able to gather the loose ball and make an initial break and Italian international Ioane brushed off the last man, Cole Forbes, to swagger through.

Lock Nicola Cannone added another try after some lovely off-loading play – a familiar tactic from the Italians during the regular season – sent him into space and he swatted off “Horneito” George Horne before crossing for a nightmarish start for the Warriors’ defence.

Benetton were making ground with the same ease that Italy had done against Scotland in the Women’s Six Nations last week, and only a rip from Fraser Brown around 5m from the Warriors line let some pressure off, allowing Horne to boot the ball deeper towards Benneton territory.

Veteran Benetton full-back Jayden Hayward had put a couple of cracking kicks in behind the Warriors towards’ touch, and another led to the first Captain’s Challenge, but ultimately a second try for Cannone.

George Turner’s line-out was pinched in the air and a few phases later, Cannone galloped through the space off a one-out ball.

Fraser Brown had questioned whether Toa Halafihi had held onto Zander Fagerson’s leg for too long at the clear out, preventing him from getting to Cannone, but after the officials reviewed the footage, the try stood.

Hayward’s boot which had caused Glasgow all kinds of trouble then created some bother for his own side when his booming kick downfield rolled into touch behind the try-line.

Warriors won the penalty at the scrum and rather than take the points to get themselves on the board, Ross Thompson opted to go for touch from about 25m out, but it nearly led to another Benetton try.

The maul went nowhere, so Turner peeled off the back and drove towards the line only to be turned over by Halafihi, and Paolo Garbisi, who had run brilliantly with the ball from the stand-off position on a few occasions, broke clear. Thankfully for Glasgow, Forbes had got back into position to cover his pass to Ioane which would have led to another score for the winger.

Another kick which went dead from Benetton gave Warriors the scrum on the Benetton 22, and as with the last scrum, Warriors were awarded the penalty after good scrummaging from Zander Fagerson.

Glasgow opted to scrum again, and although it went down early, Horne went close to the line with a sniping run.

More penalties followed, playing with advantage, the returning Kyle Steyn perhaps should have fed a pass inside to Sam Johnson with the Warriors going wide, and it was that man Halafihi again who claimed the turnover just a couple of metres from his own try-line to see out a disastrous half for Danny Wilson’s side.

Half-time: Benneton 21 – 0 Glasgow Warriors

Horne’s early break and kick and chase was covered by Garbisi who dotted down behind the try-line for a goal-line drop-out, and Glasgow were then awarded a penalty for Federico Ruzza trying to get his hands on the ball when a ruck had been formed, only for Turner’s throw to go over everyone’s head and Ross Thompson could only knock on as he tried to gather.

Another Glasgow spill, this time by Fotu Lokotui close to the Benneton line, signalled an end of Horne’s work for the day with Ali Price coming on, and Benetton then won their own put-in to a scrum after a thumping challenge by Juan Ignacio Brex on Johnson gave them possession nearly 50m up the park.

Ian Keatley then replaced Thompson to give the Warriors half-back pairing a far more experienced look, but Keatley’s first involvement saw him throw a loose pass and Benneton were then awarded a penalty with Fagerson entering the breakdown at an angle. Garbisi banged it through for a 24-0 lead with 52mins on the clock.

Glasgow thought they had got on the scoreboard as an hour of game time approached, Gray helped enable a turnover in midfield, and when Keatley found Rufus McLean out wide, the Scottish speedster raced down the right before passing to Price on the inside, and Forbes was on his shoulder to race in.

However, a successful Captain’s Challenge by Dewalt Duvenage highlighted a high tackle by Johnson on former Warrior Leonardo Sarto before Glasgow had nicked possession, so the try was overturned and Benetton were awarded the penalty.

Johnson escaped further sanction due to his tackle being made as Sarto was on the way down, but Benetton took full advantage by going to the corner, and that man Halafihi scored easily from the line-out.

Another Glasgow handling error and hack ahead by Brex nearly saw Sarto add further sauce to the scoreline, but Ollie Smith was dragged over his own try-line to give Benetton a 5m scrum. Michele Lamaro became the next Benetton player to score a few phases later. 36-0 Benetton.

Sarto then dropped the ball just as it looked like he was going to further embarrass Glasgow, but Keatley’s excellent awareness from the drop-out saw him cross-kick to the left where Forbes, who has looked an astute piece of business in his short spell at the club, legged it home practically the full length of the pitch to dispel the ignominy of being grannied.

Gianmarco Lucchesi scored another maul try, despite Marius Mitrea calling “use it”, he allowed them to continue rolling forward, to put more gloss on Benetton’s performance and crack another egg onto the face of the Warriors.

Keatley and Nick Grigg grabbed late consolation scores to make it slightly less embarrassing, but the woeful start, pacified defence and far too many handling errors had already doomed the Warriors to a disappointing loss.

SRBlog POTM: hard to choose when they’ve been so thoroughly outclassed and played so poorly. Fraser Brown did alright, won a couple of big turnovers, but as a captain, he should be driving the standards expected into the players. Despite failing to deal with Ioane early doors, Cole Forbes will get the nod as he was involved in Glasgow’s best attacking moves.

Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR)

11 Responses

  1. Enough is absolutely enough. A new low in Glasgow Warriors history after a joke of a season to forget. No excuses about rebuilding, Scotland covid bubbles, injuries or anything else. A team with 12 Scotland internationals looking clueless and absolutely humiliated by a team who haven’t won in the league all year. Danny Wilson and his coaching team should just walk out the door and never come back. They have been given the benefit of the doubt for a year. If they don’t and the SRU don’t have the backbone to sack them and bring in a new team then rugby is all but finished in Glasgow.

    You had something within your grasp at Glasgow, you were in the process of perhaps building something special, but the penny pinching mentality came to the fore and you appointed a sub standard coach, the cheap already on the books option and as a result things have fallen off a cliff edge. You need to repair this and repair it now or what you had will drift away and you will be playing in front of 500 people at Firhill again before you know it.

    1. Neither Edinburgh nor Glasgow have had a good season in any way really, but from what I watched I felt that Edinburgh seemed like a basically good team playing (at times very) poorly. Glasgow’s squad just seemed poor to mediocre most of the time, some highlights from the youngsters, but indeed the “big names” were largely absent, or out of form/shape, and the men on the field were in general not up to the job.

      A serious squad refreshment is needed…

      1. Alanyst you make some good points about the squad. International players of that quality should at least turn up and give greater effort. Some of the younger guys look promising and may come on over the next couple of years but are they likely to be of world class Hogg and Russell standard (who were never replaced)?
        Loosing Jones and Hastings and others for next season only adds to a feeling of despair. That means we will be struggling with quality across the back line as well as having no size or aggression in the back row and only having one reliable second row.
        There won’t be much if any cash to throw at the problem. The one option open is to bring in a new coaching broom.
        The present regime appear to have mis- managed the resources they have. For example our back line with more or less the same players (Hogg excepted) was guaranteed to provide some attacking fireworks, now they can hardly string a few laboured passes together.
        Whatever is happening either isn’t working and or the players aren’t responding. It just isn’t good enough and I return to the point I made previously, the SRU or the club need to sort this out and now.
        If we have another season of being at the bottom of the table and being turned over by bottom feeder teams whilst playing insipid, inaccurate rugby with no passion people won’t pay upwards of £350 for a season ticket and £5 for a can of warm beer in a plastic tumbler for much longer.

      2. It’s such a shame to witness a decline in both clubs’ achievements in contrast to the steady improvement in the national side.
        I’m hoping the SRU will be working to support both clubs turn it round for next season and beyond.
        The silver lining for us at international level is we have a fair number of excellent players playing for top clubs outside Scotland.
        We’ve started to become rugby’s equivalent of the Scandinavian national football teams who perform well at international level by benefiting from players who play outside Scandinavia.

  2. Well I’ve defended Wilson for most of this season, I was understanding that his tenure had been hugely disrupted by COVID, the legacy issues and international callups that left his squad was cobbled together from veterans, kids and loan signings and that they would struggle to compete. but i thought the corner was turned I felt there was reason to be optimistic for the future and that the players seemed to be committed, that they had passed their lowest ebb but I have to admit this result is hard to rationalise. I have to hope it’s simple complacency, a micky mouse cup and the return of the “big dogs” leading to taking the match for granted…I mean games can be lost but the manner of the defeat!!

    The most worrying thing for me is that the pre-match chat and post match reaction are eerily similar to the Scotland 2019 world cup campaign, we thought the players were well prepared, we felt training had gone well, we picked a strong side etc etc. Wilson needs to get a grip of this quickly!!

    1. Agree, Wilson can’t really be blamed for much of the way the season has gone but if he doesn’t get a grip now he’s going to struggle for credibility for next years rebuild. Either Glasgow actually perform in these remaining games or the Kellock, the SRU, whoever need to be looking at emergency action to arrest this decline. We can’t face another seasons like this, with both pro-teams in the absolute doldrums.

  3. Woeful coaching (or lack thereof) aside, the selection of Brown at 7 also showed a complete lack of empathy and man management from Wilson. Fraz is back fit and needs every opportunity to put his hands up for a Lions place, and what does Wilson do? Sticks him in the back row – what a crappy thing to do when you have other options available. It’s clear from the after match comments that Fraz is seriously unhappy, and I suspect not just with the teams performance.

    1. I feel sorry for Frazer, who was one of the few to get pass marks for effort. Unfortunately I don’t think he is in the conversation for the Lions squad so you can argue that playing Turner was giving him the chance to shine for Lions selection. Unfortunately the line out was an epic fail and George has to take a lot of the blame, his touring chances may have now been dented which is a shame as around the park he can be dynamite.

      You have highlighted having to play a hooker in the backrow. Looking at the present squad throws up various similar conundrums. We do not at this point have either an international class fullback or stand off for next season, both key positions in the modern game. We do however have 5 hookers and 6 scrum half’s (7 if you include Nico). I realise that Covid has precluded normal recruitment over the last 12 months, you would have thought however that Danny Wilson can see these deficiencies and would have been making phone calls to recruit for these positions – it’s not as if he has been spending his time coming up with cunning coaching strategies to hump Benetton or the Dragons is it.

      1. We have McKay coming at fullback and Miotti (who is playing well for Western Force) for 10. I suspect Dolokoto will be away and we only have 4 scrum halves signed. Recruitment is a bit better than you fear. Have a look at Kevin Miller’s depth charts. Having said that, Warriors do look less than the sum of their parts

  4. But it’s nice and cheap , so some folks in the SRU can get their bonuses, given it took a FOI request to get them to release the money they have had since December.

    1. I think you are lost Scrivener, the website your looking for is called the offsideline.

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