Glasgow keep their campaign alive
MATCH REPORT: Glasgow Warriors boosted their hopes of reaching the PRO14 quarter-finals with an eight-try 56-24 victory over Zebre at Scotstoun Stadium.
George Horne was the star of the show as he opened the scoring in a fast Glasgow start before crossing for a match-turning try on the stroke of half-time.
Zebre were 17-14 in front but Horne’s second turned the match in Warriors’ favour as they scored five tries in the second period with debutant Mesu Dolokoto coming off the bench to notch a brace.
The bumper home victory sees Glasgow get within two points of third-placed Cheetahs in Conference A.
It took Glasgow just six minutes to get off the mark. After some slick handling, Nick Grigg made a superb line, bursting through before sending Horne over for an easy try.
Glasgow were slipping off tackles with returning lock Leone Nakarawa keeping play alive with fine handling and the hosts doubled their lead on 14 minutes.
Tom Gordon fed his back-row colleague Matt Fagerson who smashed through several Zebre players to score. Pete Horne added the extras.
Zebre were under all sorts of pressure in the opening quarter of an hour but those early scores proved to be a wake-up call.
Flyhalf Michelango Biondelli thought he had gone over only for the score to be ruled out after replays showed no clear grounding.
But a minute later Zebre got their try with prop Daniele Rimpelli reaching over a pile of bodies to touch down near the posts.
Boindelli landed the conversion and then slotted a simple three-pointer on 27 minutes as Zebre closed the gap to 14-10.
That was his final contribution as he hobbled off and was replaced by scrum-half Marcello Violi with Josh Renton moving to stand-off.
But Violi made a stunning introduction. After Glasgow fumbled a lineout, Zebre moved the ball to the right and Jamie Elliott burst through a gap.
Elliott then fed Violi who crossed to put Zebre into the lead with a converted try.
But with half-time closing in Glasgow struck. George Turner made a brilliant carry and offload to George Horne who wriggled over to score. Pete Horne then did the honours from the tee to make it 21-17 at the break.
The try was crucial as Glasgow came bursting out of the traps and bagged two converted tries in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Nakarawa clattered forward before superbly offloading to hooker Dolokoto who burrowed over from close range.
DTH van der Merwe’s 16-month wait for a PRO14 try was then ended when he gobbled up Pete Horne’s cross-field kick and dotted down.
The Canada international wing’s score was his 58th in the competition, moving him to joint second in the all-time list.
With their tails up Warriors grabbed their sixth try on 54 minutes. George Horne burst through and looked set to score before being stopped illegally by Junior Laloifi.
The fullback was sin-binned for the high tackle and referee Joy Neville awarded Glasgow a penalty try, moving them 42-17 ahead.
Zebre tried to get back into it but a moment of brilliance from Jamie Dobie saw Warriors score another.
Dobie made a superb run from deep before being stopped short but Gordon was on hand to finish the job.
Zebre got back on the scoresheet when Laloifi produced a fine step and pass to Pierre Bruno who went over.
But Glasgow got their eight at the death courtesy of a stunning run from Kyle Steyn and finish from Dolokoto.
For Glasgow Warriors:
Tries: Horne 2, Fagerson 3, Van der Merwe, Gordon
Cons: Horne 5, Jackson 2
Tries: Rimpelli, Violi, Bruno
Cons: Biondelli, Violi 2
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Glenn Bryce, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Stafford McDowall, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Pete Horne, 9 George Horne, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Tom Gordon, 6 Ryan Wilson (captain), 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Rob Harley, 3 Oli Kebble, 2 George Turner, 1 Aki Seiuli.
Replacements: 16 Mesu Dolokoto, 17 Alex Allan, 18 Adam Nicol, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 Chris Fusaro, 21 Jamie Dobie, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Kyle Steyn.
Zebre: 15 Junior Laloifi, 14 Paula Balekana, 13 Jamie Elliott, 12 Tommaso Boni (captain), 11 Pierre Bruno, 10 Michelangelo Biondelli, 9 Joshua Renton, 8 Renato Giammarioli, 7 Apisai Tauyavuca, 6 Maxime Mbandà, 5 Mick Kearney, 4 Ian Nagle, 3 Eduardo Bello, 2 Massimo Ceciliani, 1 Daniele Rimepelli.
Replacements: 16 Oliviero Fabiani, 17 Riccardo Burgnara, 18 Alexandru Tarus, 19 Leonard Krumov, 20 George Biagi, 21 Marcello Violi, 22 Enrico Lucchin, 23 Jimmy Tuivaiti.
Referee: Joy Neville (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Sam Grove-White (Scotland), Chris Busby (Ireland)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)