Benetton 9-19 Glasgow Warriors

Benetton 9-19 Glasgow Warriors

Glasgow Warriors stood firm to earn a crucial 19-9 victory over Scottish-Italian Shield rivals Benetton in Treviso this afternoon, expertly navigating the conditions and a passionate home support to claim a vital four points in pursuit of a home playoff.

Tries from Johnny Matthews, Stafford McDowall and Tom Jordan secured a first victory at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo since January 2020 for the Warriors, as Franco Smith’s men moved top of the BKT United Rugby Championship standings.

With the pitch feeling the effects of a morning downpour, Glasgow’s tactic of prioritising field position was clear to see straight from the first whistle. Strong carrying from Henco Venter and Max Williamson would draw a penalty from referee Eoghan Cross, from which Ross Thompson would find touch five metres out. Whilst Benetton would scramble well to squeeze Facundo Cordero into touch on the opposite flank, their work was immediately undone when an overthrown lineout landed straight in the hands of Matthews. Over went the hooker from just two metres out, giving his side a 5-0 lead with eight minutes played.

Stung by the early concession, Benetton set about searching for a swift response, urged on by a packed house in Treviso. Yet Glasgow’s defence would hold firm in the face of the men in green and white; Alex Samuel and Euan Ferrie were causing mayhem at the lineout, whilst the midfield tandem of Jordan and McDowall provided no way through for their hosts.

With Thompson and Jamie Dobie pulling the strings with a canny kicking game, the Warrior, too, were looking to make the most of their platform. Both Cordero and Sebastian Cancelliere continually looked to outfox the opposing defence, whilst Lucio Sordoni and Venter preferred a more direct approach with ball in hand.

The Warriors knew that making the most of chances could prove crucial, and with five minutes left in the half Franco Smith’s men took full advantage of a Benetton error. After Cordero’s excellent work prevented both a Benetton lineout and gained his side field position, Dobie’s chip over the top was spilled in the back-field right to the feet of McDowall. The Glasgow captain calmly dribbled the ball from 22 to try-line, diving on the loose ball for a try that – allied to Thompson’s conversion – gave his side a 12-0 lead at the break.

Jacob Umaga would get the hosts on the board with a penalty four minutes into the second half, but Glasgow’s kicking was continuing to put them in strong position. A 50-22 from Dobie turned the Benetton defence, whilst Cordero almost put Josh McKay away for a try down the blindside were it not for the home side’s scramble defence.

Another penalty from Umaga on 55 minutes brought Benetton back within seven points, before Sordoni was sent to the sin-bin for an off-the-ball hit on Thomas Gallo. Yet the Warriors would stand tall, refusing to concede whilst down a man and fronting up in the face of relentless pressure from the home side.

Umaga would add three more to his – and his side’s – tally with 10 minutes to play, before the game’s decisive moment arrived with six minutes to play. Yet again it was the tactical nous of Dobie that created the chance, his chip over the top regathered by the onrushing McDowall. The captain found Jordan on his shoulder, sending the centre over under the posts for the score. Duncan Weir converted, and Glasgow had a 19-9 lead to a chorus of chants from the travelling Warrior Nation.

With one final push from the home side denied by those in black, the final whistle was greeted with roars from those to have made the trip from Scotland to northern Italy. A result that moves Glasgow Warriors to the top of the BKT United Rugby Championship, at least for a couple of hours – the focus now turns to the visit of Cardiff to Scotstoun in three weeks time as the race for the playoffs heats up.

Spread the word

Newsletter Sign-up

Sign up to our newsletter today to receive the latest updates, content and releases from Glasgow Warriors.