Glasgow Warriors 37-0 Benetton
A dominant display from start to finish saw Glasgow Warriors record a 37-0 victory over Benetton at Scotstoun this evening, as Franco Smith’s men made it 15 points from a possible 15 at home in the 2022/23 BKT United Rugby Championship.
Sione Vailanu’s brace on his first appearance at Scotstoun set his side on their way, with Sebastian Cancelliere, Fraser Brown and Rufus McLean also dotting down under the floodlights.
Straight from the kick-off, the Warriors went hunting for an early breakthrough. Alex Samuel was immediately into the thick of the action on his professional debut, with Miotti conducting proceedings from fly-half.
Whilst it took until the eleventh minute for the opening score, it was a score that was well worth the wait. Spotting a gap, Sione Vailanu backed himself on his own 10-metre line, picking and charging through the middle of the ruck. With the defence closing in, an outrageous dummy saw the big Tongan gallop over unopposed, beaming ear to ear as he raced over untouched. The conversion drifted wide, but there was no quelling the spirits of the Scotstoun faithful.
Keen not to be undone by their number eight, Glasgow’s wingers were looking increasingly lively under the Friday night lights. McLean’s acceleration saw him cause chaos in the Benetton defensive line, whilst only a brave steal from Sebastian Negri would deny Cancelliere after a clean break took him to within five metres.
Vailanu was continuing to be a menace with ball in hand, charging into contact with glee whenever the chance arose. Glasgow’s ability to recycle the ball through the phases would earn them a penalty straight in front of the posts, a chance Miotti would duly dispatch for an 8-0 lead on the half-hour mark.
A fractious opening to the half would give way to a scintillating conclusion, as the Warriors would bring their supporters to their feet twice within a matter of minutes. There was a distinctly Argentinian flavour to the home side’s second of the evening, as Jamie Dobie’s chip ahead was regathered by Miotti. The fly-half timed his draw and pass perfectly to ride a high tackle from Rhyno Smith – for which the Benetton man earned a yellow card – to send Cancelliere over under the posts. The conversion made it 15-0, but the Warriors weren’t done for the opening stanza just yet.
Just moments later, the Warrior Nation would be roaring their approval once more. A free-flowing first-phase move saw Josh McKay rip through a gap to race from 22 to 22, leaving the full-back with the simplest of tasks to send Stafford McDowall over unopposed. Miotti added the extras, and Glasgow had a 22-0 lead at the interval.
The Warriors would pick up where they left off at the start of the second period, dominating both possession and territory as they went in search of a bonus-point. Only a cynical intervention from Thomas Gallo would prevent the fourth try from arriving from a lineout maul on 47 minutes, and Glasgow didn’t hang around in making their advantage count. Brown’s lineout throw to Samuel was pinpoint, before the hooker tucked himself away at the back of the maul to rumble over for the score. Miotti’s conversion drifted wide, but the Warriors were in total control.
Try number five would arrive in almost identical fashion after 57 minutes, with only the try-scorer changing in the process. After Euan Ferrie was denied a debut try moments after coming off the bench by some last-ditch defence, another short-range lineout maul saw Vailanu smuggled over for his second of the night. The conversion was just off target but the Warrior Nation were in no mood to mind.
There was almost more for the home supporters to cheer four minutes later, as more first-phase magic saw Miotti’s inside ball put Cancelliere into space, the winger rounding Smith with aplomb to diver over. However, the pass was deemed to have drifted forward en route by the TMO, much to the disapproval of the Warrior Nation.
Glasgow’s domination was total, with replacement props Nathan McBeth and Simon Berghan demolishing the Benetton scrum on multiple occasions as Glasgow pressed for try number six. Ferrie would once again go close, whilst Sean Kennedy’s dart for the line almost saw the scrum-half dot down for the score.
When the try did arrive, it came from a familiar scorer – albeit in somewhat unconventional fashion. Kyle Steyn’s expert steal at the breakdown won his side a penalty, with the eagle-eyed Miotti spotting space in the backfield and booting long. McLean’s pace saw him outstrip the defence, only to tie himself in knots as he looked to gather the ball. The winger would eventually dive on the loose ball to score, Miotti’s conversion rattling the post as McLean’s relieved grin was replayed on the big screens.
Whilst Kennedy would go close once again, that would be the end of the scoring for both the match and the opening block of fixtures in 2022/23. A third successive try bonus-point and a clean sheet to boot – Franco Smith and company will be going into the Autumn Nations Series with a smile on their faces.