Benetton v Glasgow: Warriors humbled by rampant hosts

Head coach Danny Wilson admits to feeling shell-shocked after his side were outclassed in Rainbow Cup opener

Glasgow Warriors were put to the sword by Benetton. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Glasgow Warriors were put to the sword by Benetton. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Benetton 46

Glasgow Warriors 19

CREDIT where credit is due. Benetton were very good. But this was a disastrous performance by Warriors.

Three tries for the visitors in the last 13 minutes – including two in the last five minutes after Benetton had gone into warm-down mode – gave the scoreline a respectability that did not properly reflect the overall balance of play. Warriors lacked composure and were a distant second best in every department.

There was a smattering youngsters in this side, but it would be disingenuous to use that as an excuse. They were no more or less culpable than the many highly experience men they lined up alongside. This was a failure of the collective rather than any individual.


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“I’m a bit shell-shocked, probably like most people,” conceded head coach Danny Wilson afterwards. “I didn’t see that performance coming. I thought we had a decent week training and came into the game in a reasonable place, and we had picked enough experienced players to go with the younger players, so it’s an embarrassing performance, as simple as that.

“Its’ the worst performance since I’ve been here, no doubt about that, from any team we have put out.

“It looks to me like we haven’t turned up. We just didn’t fire in any area. We were error-ridden, we defended poorly, attacked poorly … we need to get to the bottom of where that has come from and put it right pretty quickly going into a derby in a couple of weeks.

“The boys spoke in the changing room as honestly as I am speaking to you about it. They’ve not tried to gloss over it, the leaders have spoken and said it is a dark day that can’t happen again. We need to get to the bottom of where that came from and more importantly make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Started badly and went downhill from there

Warriors dominated early possession but then found themselves seven points down with just three minutes played when Marco Zanon blocked Sam Johnson‘s grubber through then gathered the ball himself, before feeding back inside for Monty Ioane to streak home from 70 yards, fending off a despairing tackle from Cole Forbes on the way.

It went from bad to worse for the visitors when Riccardo Favretto offloaded from the deck to Niccolo Cannone. The big second-row still had plenty to do, but wrong-footed George Horne with an outrageous dummy, then swatted the Warriors scrum-half away like a fly as he thundered home for a wonderful try.

Benetton’s scoring rate then slowed down, but they continued to dominate in every area, harassing Warriors with their aggressive defence, attacking with real bite, and kicking with more conviction.

It was only really a matter of time, and when Benetton finally scored again in the 24th minute it was another beauty with a stolen line-out leading to a ruck in the middle of the park, and Cannone sweeping round to gallop home from 20 yards for his second try of the match.

There was a ‘captain’s challenge’ – the first time this law variation trial has been exercised by a Scottish team – because Zander Fagerson felt he had been illegally cleared-out at the ruck, but the video evidence didn’t support that, and the score stood.

Finally, in the 32nd minute, Warriors threatened when George Turner burst from the back of a line-out drive and powered for the line, but home No8 Tao Halafihi ripped the ball – like sweets from a baby – and Paolo Garbisi launched a coruscating counter attack which went from 22 to 22 before Forbes saved the away team’s bacon by getting back to cut out what would have been the scoring pass.

The final 10 minutes of the first half were more promising for Warriors as they forced a series of penalties from Benetton five yards from their own line, but the visitors couldn’t convert that pressure into points, and some more brilliant scavenger play from Halafihi ensured that the home team went in at the break 21 points ahead.

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Warriors had a mountain to climb in the second half and it started well when Horne sniffed out a gap and forced a goal-line drop-out – another law variation being trialled during the Rainbow Cup – with a kick-ahead into Benetton’s in-goal area.

That put Glasgow in a promising field position, but it came to nothing when Fagerson was penalised for hinging at a scrum. Warriors came again, but this time Foto Lokotui lost the ball in contact, and a couple of huge tackles by Juan Ignacio Brex in the middle of the park re-established Benetton’s momentum.

Garbisi slotted a penalty after Fagerson was, perhaps harshly, penalised for entering a ruck from the side.

Warriors thought they had taken a nibble out of Benetton’s commanding lead when Lokotui secured turnover ball and replacement stand-off Ian Keatley‘s delayed pass sent Rufus McLean clear on the right touchline, with Ali Price then acting as link man to sendForbes over.

However, there was a ‘captain’s challenge’ which showed that Johnson’s arm had made contact with Leonardo Sarto‘s head earlier in the passage of play, so the try was chalked off and Benetton were awarded a penalty.

To compound Warriors’ misery, Benetton scored off the ensuing line-out, with Halafihi bursting over for the bonus point try, and Garbisi adding the tricky conversion for good measure.

Benetton were straight back on the attack, with Sarto chasing down Brex’s kick ahead. The former Warriors winger was stopped short but the home team kept the pressure on and flanker Michele Lamaro muscled over a few phases later.

There was finally a moment of relief for Warriors when Sarto lost control of the ball as he dived in for what would have been Benetton’s sixth unanswered try and Keatley had the presence of mind to send his quick goal-line drop-out on a flat angle to unmarked Forbes on the left wing, and the New Zealander had the gas to make it home from 90 metres.

At least they weren’t going to be grannied, but Warriors’ humiliation wasn’t over yet, because with seven minutes still on the clock replacement hooker Gianmarco Lucchesi went over from a close-range line-out.

Benetton spent the final four minutes with 14 men after Garbrisi was sent to the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on, and Keatley and Nick Grigg claimed two late tries. Good on the visitors for not capitulating completely, but it was a fairly futile exercise in damage limitation.

Benetton saw the game out with an injury time Edoardo Padovani penalty after a Warriors obstruction.

 

Teams –

Benetton: J Hayward; L Sarto, J Brex, M Zanon (E Padovani 68), M Ioane; P Garbisi, D Duvenage (L Petrozzi 60); T Gallo (T Baravalle 62), C Els ( G Lucchesi 62), F Alongi (I Nemer 71), N Cannone (I Herbst 62), F Ruzza (M Zuliani 53), R Favretto, M Lamaro, T Halafihi (A Sgarbi 66).

Glasgow Warriors: C Forbes; R McLean, N Grigg, S Johnson, K Steyn (O Smith 59); R Thompson (I Keatley 50), G Horne (A Price 48); O Kebble (T Lambert 14), G Turner (G Stewart 54), Z Fagerson (D Rae 68), R Gray (L Nakarawa 64), R Harley, F Lokotui (R Darge 64), F Brown, R Wilson.

 

Scorers –

Benetton: Tries: Ioane, Cannone 2, Halafihi, Lamaro, Lucchesi; Cons: Garbisi 5; Pen: Garbisi, Padovani.

Glasgow Warriors: Try: Forbes, Keatley, Grigg; Con: Keatley 2.

Scoring sequence (Benetton first):5-0; 7-0; 12-0; 14-0; 19-0; 21-0 (h-t) 24-0; 29-0; 31-0; 36-0; 38-0; 38-5; 38-7; 43-7; 43-12; 43-17; 43-19; 46-19.

 

Yellow cards –

Benetton: Garbrisi (76mins)


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David Barnes
About David Barnes 2349 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

28 Comments

  1. I didn’t see any of this game and it doesn’t sound like I should want to. I was shocked when I saw the result, especially considering Glasgow’s starting team and opposition. There is something very badly wrong at Glasgow and it needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

  2. The performance was an absolute disgrace. It looked like they gave up. These are some of the players who performed well in the six nations. It started with Rennie and it has got worse with the current coaching set up. This was the worst Glasgow performance for many many years. And the recruitment looks woeful. So no great hopes for next season.
    Oh and final comment to the usual folks banging on about time to end the pro-teams. Go ahead and the senior Scotland team will disappear down the world rankings as players won’t be playing at the right level. And if that happens the numbers wanting to play will also reduce at every level. This is 2021 not 1921.

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  3. In a recent post I questioned the necessity of this ‘Rainbow’ tournament for various reasons not least the thought that its main priority was to attract money to the Pro14 from CVC rather than any benefit to Rugby.
    Perhaps there is an underlying malaise at the thought of another meaningless fixture in a truncated tournament with adapted laws to what end?
    Captain’s challenge, and Red card substitutions bringing the team back to full strength after 20 minutes: what a great way to develop authority of refereeing decisions at a time when today’s referee’s metaphorically do have eyes in the back of their head, that’s the TMO.
    Instead of introducing controversy from the Player’s perhaps utilize the TMO properly and stop introducing protocols that are emasculating the game for fear of ‘Group Actions’ for medical problems supposedly caused by playing Rugby ignoring the fact that other factors could be responsible.
    So Warriors packed with Internationals put in a lackluster performance, lets blame the Coach or lets blame the Players, perhaps the underlying problem is the way Rugby in the Professional era is being administered.
    Disquiet about management in Roseburn Street, concern about money from Private Equity, unease about the Grassroots game, meaningless competitions designed to attract Television exposure on ever increasing pay to view Tv. channels.
    Then there is my distrust of all that seems to alter the game I played and enjoyed for over thirty years that seem to emanate from Dublin Headquarters, World Rugby, Pro14, Premiership Tv. Sentanta Tv. all very cosy and 10 minutes from each other and the Bar at the Shelbourne Hotel. Just a thought.

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    • I can see your point, George, but the bottom line is that the bare minimum of 80 minutes of desire, commitment and passion is missing. You can point to structures, unattractive competitions, experimental rule changes etc. as much as you want but these are professional players who should fully demostrate their pride and competitiveness whenever they play and right from the start to the final minute. You see that every time in all of the Irish provinces no matter who is playing for them. I can accept being beaten and other teams or players being better but can’t accept anything less than full commitment and effort.

    • I can see your point, George, but the bottom line is that the bare minimum of 80 minutes of desire, commitment and passion is missing. You can point to structures, unattractive competitions, experimental rule changes etc. as much as you want but these are professional players who should fully demostrate their pride and competitiveness whenever they play and right from the start to the final minute. You see that every time in all of the Irish provinces no matter who is playing for them. I can accept being beaten and other teams or players being better but can’t accept anything less than full commitment and effort.

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      • Don’t disagree with you Craig, I just wanted to suggest some of the pertinent side issues, but you are correct for whatever reason they didn’t turn up and that isn’t good enough.

    • I share the strength of feeling for what was a dreadful performance. For me the team looked chucked together, no cohesion, defensive systems non-existent. Add to that basic skills not there..catch the ball – pass the ball. Price came on to inject urgency and the first thing he did was knock on. Seems to me most of them were already on the beach.

  4. Glasgow slept walked through the 1st 77mins. At no point in those 77min was there a reaction to an utter humiliation against the worst team in the Pro14, their huge lock was able to play like Barry John as he was given the freedom of the pitch.
    An absolute disgrace of a performance.

  5. In a recent post I questioned the necessity of this ‘Rainbow’ tournament for various reasons not least the thought that its main priority was to attract money to the Pro14 from CVC rather than any benefit to Rugby.
    Perhaps there is an underlying malaise at the thought of another meaningless fixture in a truncated tournament with adapted laws to what end?
    Captain’s challenge, and Red card substitutions bringing the team back to full strength after 20 minutes: what a great way to develop authority of refereeing decisions at a time when today’s referee’s metaphorically do have eyes in the back of their head, that’s the TMO.
    Instead of introducing controversy from the Player’s perhaps utilize the TMO properly and stop introducing protocols that are emasculating the game for fear of ‘Group Actions’ for medical problems supposedly caused by playing Rugby ignoring the fact that other factors could be responsible.
    So Warriors packed with Internationals put in a lackluster performance, lets blame the Coach or lets blame the Players, perhaps the underlying problem is the way Rugby in the Professional era is being administered.
    Disquiet about management in Roseburn Street, concern about money from Private Equity, unease about the Grassroots game, meaningless competitions designed to attract Television exposure on ever increasing pay to view Tv. channels.
    Then there is my distrust of all that seems to alter the game I played and enjoyed for over thirty years that seem to emanate from Dublin Headquarters, World Rugby, Pro14, Premiership Tv. Sentanta Tv. all very cosy and 10 minutes from each other and the Bar at the Shelbourne Hotel. Just a thought.

  6. The simple fact is that Danny Wilson and the entire coaching staff must go. Ever since he has taken over Glasgow have gone backwards. The SRU need to get grip of the situation and employ quality coaching staff. If that means from England, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa so be it. Glasgow cannot continue in this vein.

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    • I know that Kelly Brown cited personal reasons, but maybe he didn’t like what he saw and decided to get out while he could….

    • I know that Kelly Brown cited personal reasons, but maybe he didn’t like what he saw and decided to get out while he could….

  7. Scottish professional rugby has lost its heart and soul. Glasgow and Edinburgh are totally detached from club rugby with foreign coaches and a handful of home grown players.

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  8. Both ProTeams now looking like over-expensive luxuries delivering little value within the orbit of Scottish rugby (and the SRU’s financial budget).

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  9. I was shocked by that game.
    There have been too many under performances this past season. Without looking for a scapegoat, the head coach Danny Wilson’s future at Scotstoun must be in question. Performances this past year are just not acceptable and the buck unfortunately stops with him and his team. A team that in recent years has competed for top honours should not be turning in performances like today.
    On another matter, the high tackle rules are simply ruining the game. By all means protect players, but interpretation of the intention of the tackle must be considered.

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  10. The senior Glasgow players need to take a good look at themselves! Effort, desire and professionalism appears to be optional. Ryan Wilson has been very good this season but really needs to decide whether his priority focus is as Glasgow captain or positioning himself in the media for his post playing career. Richie Gray needs to demonstrate to the fans he actually has the desire to be a Glasgow rugby player . Serious questions need to be asked of the coaches but first and foremost the players need to show they care as a bare minimum. The fact this is even being questioned shows how bad things have got!

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  11. With near a full squad to pick from Danny Wilson is tuning out of excuses – he needs a fairly dramatic turn around soon.

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  12. That definately looked like a lot of it was down to trully inept coaching. A lot of those players performed for Scotland in Paris and ‘Twickers’ but – slotted into a Warriors team – they looked clueless. Dire.

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  13. What a shocker!!
    Coach Wilson didn’t see that display coming – has he been watching the same Warriors team as everyone else this season?
    The season encapsulated in one horror show.
    He says the leaders spoke in the changing room – where were the leaders on the park? Same old bad decisions – tap penalties instead of taking points – nothing learned from Montpellier game.
    We don’t appear to have any real ball carriers in the pack, could any of our locks scored the tries that Benetton lock scored today? That’s 10 tries Benetton have scored against Warriors in last two games.
    Cockers and Edinburgh must be relishing the 1872 game. SRU are good at switching players between the clubs, how about the coaches?

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  14. Embarrassing – there is no other way to describe it. I often think Benetton are better than their results have shown this season but we made them look like Leinster or Munster. We were dreadful and I cant remember a worse performance. Our line out was poor, we made endless errors and conceded ball at the breakdown. This was a good Glasgow side we put out but they looked unfit and uninterested at times. There was no cohesion, no intensity and very little creativity. Even wee George looked a bit lost at times as their aggressive defence made us struggle to create any threat, Our one up tackling was pathetic at times and let them in for some easy tries. Some of the senior Glasgow players need to have a good look at themselves. Its easy to blame the coaches but too many players simply lacked focus and commitment and thats not good enough. Gary was once again useless – he is usually the biggest guy on the pitch but lacks physicality and punches well below his weight. Its sad to see Tim Swinson who was meant to have retired still showing up for Saracens for a 2nd season. He’s a much better player than Gray. I could go on.

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  15. Danny Wilson needs to be equally shell shocked when the SRU finally grow the cojones to send him packing. He has had a year and things have gone from bad to laughingstock. That was the worst most embarrassing and most inept Warriors performance I have witnessed.
    The time has come to end this forgettable chapter in our history.

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    • That will be a good introduction to the real world for our new Glasgow CEO or based on past poor performers he will be retained somewhere with in the SRU machine.

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  16. Well a fitting end of a season you thought could not get worse, only to find it did get way worse. So first ever loss , no hammering is closer to the mark by Benneton, who played well take nothing away from them. That was not Glasgow a team with 11 Scottish internationalists on the pitch, it was a horror story. I think if Keatley had not steadied the ship it could have gone down with all hands to zero points. I can take not one positive point from that game for Glasgow , they have been poor all season. For me it’s the coach and his team at fault the pro 14 has been our worst performance for years, in an interrupted Europe we were relegated to the Challenge cup where we might end up next year, I can take little from this season and we have lost more quality players and the signings look average at best Lokotui and Keatley aside.

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  17. A team full of current internationalists, age grade, internationalists and a British Lion and they are blown away, 5 tries and 38 points down before they score after 67 minutes. Shell-shocked says Wilson he should be ashamed. What a waste of a Saturday afternoon.

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