GLAS­GOW WAR­RIORS 29 BENET­TON TRE­VISO 10

Three quick tries set up Glas­gow but Townsend keen to iron out the ‘sloppy mo­ments’

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GLAS­GOW WAR­RIORS 29 BENET­TON TRE­VISO 10

GLAS­GOW fi­nally claimed the full house of points that has proved so elu­sive this sea­son, pick­ing up their first try-bonus of the cam­paign and edg­ing them­selves into a RaboDirect play-off po­si­tion as they did so.

The win pro­pelled Gre­gor Townsend’s side into fourth place in the PRO12 ta­ble, four points bet­ter than Os­preys and still with a game in hand. Two dif­fi­cult week­ends lie in store as they take on Mun­ster and Ul­ster, and even in vic­tory the coach un­der­stood that some tight­en­ing up will be re­quired af­ter what was still a far from flaw­less per­for­mance.

“There were s o me sloppy mo­ments,” Townsend ad­mit­ted. “We were re­ally dis­ap­pointed with the try we gave away, but I was very pleased with the way we kept Tre­viso out in the sec­ond half and stopped them scor­ing any points. But it’s an im­por­tant win, five points, and that puts us in the mix. We work hard ev­ery week to im­prove on what we did the week be­fore. We are up against a qual­ity side next weekend be­cause Mun­ster have been the form team in Europe all sea­son.”

Al­most un­no­ticed, the re­sult also clinched Glas­gow’s own place in Europe next sea­son, as they are now too far ahead of Ed­in­burgh for the cap­i­tal side to over­take them be­fore the end of the sea­son.

Townsend sin­gled out Finn Rus­sell and Sean Mait­land for praise, both play­ers show­ing im­prob­a­ble sure­foot­ed­ness and pace on a sur­face that was not hugely bet­ter than it was when the game was orig­i­nally can­celled back in De­cem­ber.

The most marked dif­fer­ence be­tween the Glas­gow team of this sea­son and the one that thrilled the Scot­stoun crowd in the last cam­paign has been their in­abil­ity to har­vest tries in any great num­ber. Yet that pat­tern was turned on its head as the War­riors set off at a break­neck pace that saw them cross the Ital­ians’ line three times in the first 15 min­utes.

It helped, of course, that some of Tre­viso’s tack­ling was truly ex­e­crable, but you could hardly fault the am­bi­tion of the Glas­gow play­ers. They had their first score on the board af­ter barely a minute of play, Henry Pyr­gos rac­ing over af­ter a pow­er­ful surge by the for­wards and a mar­vel­lous break by Mait­land, and the surge of con­fi­dence was ev­i­dent as they played with lev­els of pace and am­bi­tion that have been seen only very rarely this sea­son.

At times it was just too loose, and Glas­gow paid the price with a mo­ment of crit­i­cal inat­ten­tion that al­lowed An­gelo Es­pos­ito, the Tre­viso wing, to split their de­fen­sive line and put cen­tre Al­berto Sgarbi through for a try in the 12th minute.

By then, though, Glas­gow had al­ready col­lected their own sec­ond. It came when Ruar­idh Jack­son shipped the ball to Mark Ben­nett and the cen­tre blasted through three tack­les on a thrilling di­ag­o­nal run from the the right side. Ben­nett cut in and found Niko Matawalu ar­riv­ing just at the right mo­ment, and the Fi­jian fin­ished the job.

Glas­gow’s third try came two min­utes af­ter Sgarbi’s ef­fort, and it was Pyr­gos who was again the scorer, the po­si­tion cre­ated when Mait­land made a dart down the right touch­line, Rob Har­ley pro­vid­ing the link when he off­loaded to the scrum-half.

Tre­viso were not for run­ning up the white flag, how­ever. Over the next 15 min­utes they had three penalty chances to chip away at Glas­gow’s lead, and the War­riors could con­sider them­selves for­tu­nate that scrumhalf To­bias Botes could con­vert only one of them. Glas­gow did seem to steady their ship a lit­tle to­wards the end of the first half, but they could not move their score­line on and they were still stuck at 19-10 when the in­ter­val ar­rived.

That sit­u­a­tion was reme­died shortly af­ter the break, al­though not with the fourth try that they and their sup­port­ers craved. A touch- down cer­tainly seemed to be im­mi­nent when Glas­gow pounded away at the Tre­viso line, but when their re­ward came it ar­rived in the shape of a penalty by Rus­sell.

Glas­gow brought fresh blood into their pack when Jerry Yanuyanutawa and Leone Nakarawa re­placed Gor­don Reid and Al Kel­lock around the 50-minute mark. The ef­fect was im­me­di­ate, for the home for­wards stole a vi­tal turnover near half­way, Rus­sell set off on a bold break and Mait­land, who had looked ea­ger all evening, fin­ished off by div­ing over near the right cor­ner.

With that cush­ion fi­nally es­tab­lished, Townsend could af­ford to throw on a few more re­place­ments, and none re­ceived a louder roar of ap­proval from the stands than Peter Horne, mak­ing his first ap­per­ance for Glas­gow since he suf­fered his se­ri­ous knee in­jury on Scot­land’s trip to South Africa last sum­mer.

Horne took over from Jack­son, but he ac­tu­ally slot­ted in at in­side cen­tre, with Rus­sell, who was named man of the match, mov­ing to fly-half. There was not much left for Glas­gow to do af­ter that, and they could hardly be faulted for eas­ing off in at­tack.

What was im­pres­sive, though, was their de­ter­mi­na­tion to keep their line in­tact. Over the next few weeks, that as­pect of their game might be more im­por­tant than any other.

Pic­ture: SNS/SRU

HEADACHE: Glas­gow sub­sti­tute Leone Nakarawa re­ceives a face-high tackle last night.

Pic­ture: SNS

LET’S SCRAP: Glas­gow’s Ryan Wil­son proves the cen­tre of at­ten­tion for sev­eral Tre­viso play­ers.

Pic­ture: SNS

GO­ING DOWN: Niko Matawalu charges across the line to score War­riors’ sec­ond try.

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