Classy Warriors too strong for Benetton
PRO14 REPORT: Glasgow Warriors produced the perfect response to last week’s 1872 Cup disappointment by overcoming a battling Benetton side 38-19 in a pulsating encounter at the Stadio Monigo.
Both sides entered the contest with four wins and five defeats from their opening nine fixtures, but last year’s beaten finalists – who had made wholesale changes to their XV – were sumptuous in both attack and defence throughout.
Hame Faiva, Braam Steyn and Antonio Rizzi got on the scoresheet for the hosts, but tries from Sam Johnson, Pete Horne, George Horne (2), Nikola Matawalu and Andrew Davidson sealed a bonus-point win for Dave Rennie’s men.
The visitors burst out of the blocks and were the first to get their names on the scoresheet with little over two minutes on the board, Johnson dotting down after Kyle Steyn expertly slipped through the home defence.
The Scotsmen continued to push forward in the game’s opening stages, and despite the strength of Benetton’s front row earning their side a foothold in the game, Pete Horne stretched Warriors’ advantage in the 12th minute following a line-out deep in home territory.
With plenty of work to do so early on in the game, the hosts duly rallied and after Tim Swinson was penalised following a line-out, Faiva bulldozed over in the corner for his fourth try in two games on the 20-minute mark.
And with the momentum gained from their first points of the afternoon, last season’s quarter-finalists continued to push for a second try but were kept at bay by resolute Glasgow defending.
With the clock ticking towards half-time, an infringement from substitute Rizzi gifted the away side crucial territory and George Horne capitalised superbly to extend his side’s lead in the 30th minute.
But Benetton responded immediately and having again struggled to break through the visiting defence, Braam Steyn made the most of Aki Seiuli’s yellow card and powered over to help reduce the deficit to seven points with the last play of the first half.
Having finished the opening 40 on top, the Italians continued in the same vein after the interval and Faiva came within inches of his second of the day, only for Glasgow to escape unscathed.
And after a period of end-to-end action it was the away side who were next to strike, Bruce Flockhart creeping through a sloppy challenge before darting towards the try-line and teeing up George Horne for his second score, thus securing the bonus point.
But the hosts weren’t ready to lie down, and Tito Tebaldi broke through the line brilliantly and found Rizzi, who escaped the challenge of two defenders before diving over to set up a thrilling final 15 minutes.
Nick Grigg was stretchered off after a nasty clash of heads with Cherif Traore with little over ten minutes to go, before Matawalu and Davidson added late scores to secure an impressive win for Warriors.
Man of the match – George Horne
There were plenty of worthy candidates from the visiting squad, but Scotland international Horne stood up to be counted with a fabulous display at both ends of the pitch.
Outstanding in attack and defence, the scrum-half dictated play from the off and capped a brilliant performance with two deserved tries.
Play of the Day
Sam Johnson’s early try – after Kyle Steyn stylishly split the home defence – showcased Warriors’ intentions from the off, while Antonio Rizzi’s second-half score for the hosts also deserves a mention.
But George Horne’s try ten minutes before the break was arguably the pick of the bunch, with the No.9’s older brother Pete skipping through the home backline before offloading expertly to the 24-year-old who made no mistake.
Tries: Faiva, Steyn, Rizzi
Cons: Allan 2
Tries: Johnson, Horne, Horne 2, Matawalu, Davidson
Cons: Horne 4
Yellow card: Aki Seiuli (Glasgow, 39)
Benetton: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Ratuva Tavuyara, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage (captain), 8 Abraham Steyn, 7 Giovanni Pettinelli, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Hame Faiva, 1 Nicola Quaglio.
Replacements: 16 Engjel Makelara, 17 Cherif Traore, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Niccolo Cannone, 20 Eli Snyman, 21 Marco Lazzaroni, 22 Tito Tebaldi, 23 Antonio Rizzi
Glasgow: 15 Ruaridh Jackson, 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Niko Matawalu, 10 Pete Horne, 9 George Horne, 8 Ryan Wilson (captain), 7 Tom Gordon, 6 Bruce Flockhart, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 Rob Harley, 3 Adam Nicol, 2 George Turner, 1 Aki Seiuli.
Replacements: 16 Grant Stewart, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Andrew Davidson, 20 Chris Fusaro, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Huw Jones, 23 Glenn Bryce.
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Andrea Piardi (Italy), Wayne Davies (Wales)
TMO: John Mason (Wales)
Report by @PRO14Official