Match Preview | Benetton
Glasgow Warriors return to United Rugby Championship action with a crucial clash against an inter-shield rival this weekend, as Danny Wilson’s squad take on Benetton at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo.
After a month’s break to allow the Autumn Nations Series to take centre stage, the Warriors travel to northern Italy fully in the hunt in the URC, sitting second in the Scottish-Italian Shield and sixth in the overall standings after the opening five rounds.
With Benetton having continued the form that saw them lift the Rainbow Cup back in June, however, Wilson’s side will be all too aware of the need to be on top form when the opening whistle blows on Saturday afternoon.
So what should you expect from this weekend’s clash?
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Glasgow’s previous clash with Benetton is not one that will hold any fond memories for the Warrior Nation, after the men from Treviso served notice of their intent in the Rainbow Cup with a 46-19 win over the Warriors back at the end of April.
The hosts ran in six tries in what was their opening triumph in their victorious Rainbow Cup campaign, with Cole Forbes, Ian Keatley and Nick Grigg crossing in a late rally from the Warriors.
The defeat ultimately proved a catalyst for the Warriors to go on a winning run of their own, however; back-to-back victories over Edinburgh were followed by a bonus-point win over the Dragons and a hard-earned triumph over Leinster to close out the 2020/21 season.
Ones to watch
Having announced himself to the URC during the Rainbow Cup, Gianmarco Lucchesi has continued his fine form at the outset of the 2021/22 campaign. A dynamic carrier with ball in hand, the Italian international hooker has also displayed a keen eye for the try-line; he currently sits second in the URC try-scoring charts with four, behind only Ulster number eight Nick Timoney.
Edinburgh supporters will already be well aware of the talents of teenages fly-half Leonardo Marin, with the 19-year-old having slotted a nerveless drop-goal in the 86th minute to seal a last-gasp victory for Benetton last month. Tasked with filling the shoes of Paolo Garbisi following his summer departure for Montpellier, Marin has looked right at home in his outings to date.
Often at the heart of things for Marco Bortolami’s men, Monty Ioane has become one of the most lethal attackers in the URC. The Italy winger sits alongside Jack Dempsey in joint-second for offloads in the competition in the season to date, whilst also sitting in the top ten for both defenders beaten and clean breaks after five rounds.
⚔️ He’s got 54 of them to choose from, but we asked him to choose his top 5⃣…
All this week, we’ll be re-living @DTHVDM‘s favourite scores in a Glasgow jersey.
Finally this week – a try that marked a landmark moment in club history…
Whilst the Warrior Nation are now well accustomed to making the league playoffs, back in 2012 it was an entirely different story as their team travelled to Treviso in search of a win that would seal a first-ever semi-final spot.
A cagey first-half saw the hosts go into the interval with a 5-3 lead, Duncan Weir slotting a penalty after 20 minutes.
However, cometh the hour, cometh the man, as the crucial score arrived with less than 10 minutes remaining. It would be DTH van der Merwe who would provide the breakthrough, slicing through the defence from 40 metres to dive over for the match-winning – and playoff-securing – score.
Marius van der Westhuizen will take charge of Saturday afternoon’s clash, as the South African referees his sixth match of his URC career.
Federico Boraso and Filippo Russo will be his assistants, with Alan Falzone on hand as the Television Match Official.
The match is live on Premier Sports 1 this Saturday, with kick-off scheduled for 1pm UK time.
You can also follow all the updates and action on our Live Match Centre at glasgowwarriors.org from an hour before kick-off.