Glasgow Warriors 33-29 Zebre Parma
A youthful Glasgow Warriors squad opened their 2023/24 pre-season account in winning fashion at Scotstoun this evening, putting Zebre Parma to the sword by 33-29 in The Famous Grouse Pre-Season Friendly.
Kyle Rowe’s brace, coupled with scores from Jamie Dobie, Sebastian Cancelliere and Luca Bardelli, sent the Warriors on their winning way, with seven FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy stars also taking to the field under the floodlights.
An enterprising start for the Warriors saw Franco Smith’s men click into gear early; a couple of early touches from Rowe saw the winger get involved early, whilst Tom Jordan and Cancelliere almost combined to break clear with just three minutes on the clock.
The first points of the evening, however, would go to the visitors, as Giovanni Montemauri made no mistake from in front of the posts with a penalty with nine minutes played. Yet the Warriors wouldn’t be held out for long; excellent pressure from the restart forced a penalty that was dispatched to the corner, and whilst Angus Fraser was held just short, there was no stopping captain Dobie on a close-range dart for the line. Ross Thompson converted, and Glasgow led 7-3.
All of the attacking intent was coming from those in black as the opening quarter drew to a close, with Jordan and Duncan Munn combining to good effect in the centres as the hosts searched for a gap. In defence, too, the home side were looking solid, a big hit from Lucio Sordoni setting up a turnover for Alex Samuel and Euan Ferrie.
Scotstoun could feel a second try coming, and it arrived with 27 minutes on the clock. In challenging handling conditions, Smith’s side showed excellent composure to rack up the phases, an eye-catching offload from Facundo Cordero and some physical carrying from Sordoni and fellow prop Nathan McBeth taking Glasgow within range. In the end, it was a simple relay through the hands for Rowe to dash over unopposed, Thompson’s conversion taking the score to 14-3 in favour of the home side.
Stung into life, the visitors would set about their most prolonged period of possession to date, hammering away at the Glasgow line. The Warriors would not yield an inch to their Italian opposition, however, Henco Venter and Ally Miller combining to win a well-received turnover in the shadow of their own posts.
Almost immediately, the Glasgow attack sparked into life once again. It would be a familiar face that would dive over in front of the West Stand to bring the Warrior Nation to its feet, Cancelliere cutting a superb line and fending off Iacopo Trulla to dive over in the corner. Thompson’s sublime conversion to the touchline took Glasgow to a 21-3 lead, and more was to come before the interval.
Indeed with the final attack of the half, the Warriors made it four. Jordan’s line break and dummy took his team to the Zebre 22, and from there the hosts were clinical. Miller and Venter were both involved once more, sending Rowe over for his second of the night and putting Glasgow in control. Thompson added the extras and Glasgow led 28-3 at the break.
The visitors would come out fighting at the start of the second stanza, and were rewarded with their first try of the evening just two minutes after the restart. Trulla’sline and pace saw the full-back race clear of the covering defence, Montemauri making no mistake with the conversion to narrow the deficit.
With substitutions aplenty entering the fray, the game proceeded to become stop-start in nature, with a half-break by Munn and a dart from Montemauri providing half-chances for both teams.
The next try would also go the way of the visitors, as Trulla would be rewarded for his efforts by racing over in the corner for his second score of the night. Tiff Eden’s conversion would drift wide, but the deficit was down to 28-15 with a quarter to play.
As the floodlights fully kicked into gear, it was time for Glasgow to re-ignite their attack once more. Cordero was the catalyst, an energetic kick chase seeing the Argentinian charge down a clearing kick then earn a close range lineout. From there, crisp passing from Ben Afshar, Duncan Weir and Ollie Horne sent Bardelli racing towards the corner, a position from which the winger needed no second invitation to score. Weir’s conversion was astray, but Glasgow’s lead was back to ruder health.
Yet Zebre would not go quietly, and would cross the whitewash once more with seven minutes to play. Giovanni Quatrini would emerge with the ball after a maul was too powerful for the hosts to stop, Eden adding the extras to bring Zebre back within range.
Quatrini’s second score just 90 seconds from full time – once more converted by Eden – would cause a few nervous moments amongst the Warrior Nation, yet Smith’s men would close out proceedings in a professional manner, Afshar applying the final touch to bring the curtain down on proceedings.
A first pre-season win in the books – now attention turns to a visit to Cavan for a clash with Ulster in just seven days time.