Scottish Daily Mail

Glasgow are on top form

Hosts hit summit with Zebre stroll


Glasgow cruised to a victory over bottom club Zebre last night that takes t hem t op of t he PRo12 table — but there will be far more tougher tests ahead for gregor Townsend’s team in the championsh­ip run-in.

The scotstoun outfit had an easy bonus-point win i n the bag by half-time after two tries from DTH van der Merwe and one each from Chris Fusaro and Kevin Bryce.

The only concerns on a good night for the warriors was a leg injury to sean lamont t hat s aw him stretchere­d off, leaving him a doubt for the Calcutta Cup clash with England at Twickenham. Peter Horne, another contender for the six Nations match, also left the field in the first half due to concussion.

glasgow’s cause was helped by the indiscipli­ne of the Italian outfit, who had t hree players — Matteo Pratichett­i, Mauro Bergamasco and albertoi Chillon — yellow carded in the first half.

It was not surprising that, with the work already done, the second 40 minutes in deplorable conditions saw glasgow take their foot of the gas. They were never in danger of losing and Zebre’s try from Dion Berryman meant at l east the Italians were not humiliated.

glasgow’s cause wasn’t helped in the second period when glenn Bryce was yellow- carded a minute after coming on, while will Bordill also got 10 minutes in the sin-bin for punching an opponent off the ball near the end.

Despite missing a host of stars, such as stuart Hogg, Finn Russell, Tim swinson and Tommy seymour who were rested on orders of scotland head coach Vern Cotter, their second string side played some classy rugby, particular­ly in that first half.

Townsend had been forced into a late change when No 8 adam ashe, who had been looked upon as a possible starter for scotland against England next weekend, withdrew just before kick-off with a recurrence of a neck injury.

That saw James Eddie come into the side in the second row, with Rob Harley — who scotland coach Vern Cotter wanted to see playing at lock — moving to blindside flanker.

with only three minutes on the clock, glasgow took the lead after a break from Niko Matawalu released prop Rossouw de Klerk, who played an inch-perfect pass to Canadian winger DTH van der Merwe to score under the posts. with Peter Horne putting over the conversion, it was the perfect start for the hosts.

Zebre did have their moments early on, to the extent that they even passed up a penalty chance to kick to the corner. However, from the line-out they made a real hash of the ball they had won and gave away a penalty while on the attack.

Italian scrum-half Chillon did his side no favours when he blatantly punched and stamped on Kevin Bryce, which led to a yellow. It was going to be hard enough for Zebre to hold out with a full complement of players, so it was no surprise that three minutes into his time in the sin-bin they went further behind.

a well-worked driving maul from the line-out saw glasgow rampage all over the Italian pack and, after consulting the TMo, referee Ian Davies awarded a try, scored by Fusaro. Horne put over the extras, before going off with a concussion to be replaced by Richie Vernon.

That led to a major reshuffle in the glasgow ranks, with centre Conor Braid moving into the crucial standoff position in place of Horne.

That didn’t stop their momentum, however, with Kevin Bryce going over for a try converted by Braid.

when Matteo Pratichett­i was yellow carded for infringing at a ruck with seven minutes left, Zebre were even more in trouble. To add to their woes, centre Mirco Bergamasco was also sin-binned four minutes before the break for collapsing a maul.

against 13 men, it was inevitable glasgow would get the bonus-point try they needed and it came from van der Merwe, who went over in the corner to end a perfect half.

Two men down for the start of the second half, it was hard not to feel sorry for Zebre, who were about to embark on damage-limitation.

when Mauro Bergamasco missed a penalty in front of the posts, things were getting worse for the visitors.

They continued to be pinned back near their own line and only some desperate defending kept glasgow from adding to their total. First lamont was held up just short, then van der Merwe came close to his third try of the match.

with the pitch cutting up in the rain, the standard of rugby deteriorat­ed rapidly and the heavy surface was taking its toll on the players.

after Townsend made wholesale changes, his defence was breached. good work from Quintin geldenhuys allowed Berryman to go over for an unconverte­d try.

However, the Italians couldn’t trouble glasgow again and even glenn Bryce’s yellow card and Bordill’s late sin-bin made no difference as the hosts closed the game out. SCORERS: GLASGOW Tries: Van der Merwe (2), Fusaro, Bryce. Cons: Horne (2), Braid. ZEBRE Try: Berryman.

 ??  ?? Hero’s return: Fusaro goes over for Glasgow’s
second try
Hero’s return: Fusaro goes over for Glasgow’s second try
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