Benetton v Glasgow: Warriors shoot themselves in the foot

Danny Wilson's side pay heavy price for ill-disciplined performance

Danny Wilson
Danny Wilson was left stunned after a late Cardiff fightback robbed Glasgow of the win. Image: © Craig Watson.

Benetton 19

Glasgow Warriors 18

FOR the second time this season, Benetton’s teenage stand-off Leonardo Marin kicked three points in injury-time to snatch a home victory for his team over Scottish opposition. He did it with a drop-goal against Edinburgh in round two, and on this occasion it was a penalty which put Glasgow Warriors to the sword. All credit to the young man’s nerve, but the beaten team must look at themselves for an explanation as to why this game slipped through their fingers.

With the match clock just shy of 79 minutes, Warriors had possession in Benetton’s 22, but they the conceded three penalties in quick succession – for getting isolated at a ruck, for a high tackle by Sione Tuipulotu on Rhyno Smith, and for pulling down a line-out jumper – which gifted Marin that late opportunity to claim the win.

The manner of the defeat will sting the players and it could be a far more painful memory at the end of the season, with Benetton one of Glasgow’s big rivals in the battle for play-off and European Champions Cup qualification.

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“As I’ve just said to the players, due to terrible discipline we spent the whole of the second half inside our own 22,” lamented Warriors head coach Danny Wilson. “The effort is there. It is excellent. There is lot of doggedness to hold on and not cave on our own try-line. But the amount of penalties we gave away to put ourselves in a position to lose that game is not good enough.

“With a minute and a half to go, we manage to go from their try-line and give away a penalty for a contact area infringement, a penalty for a high tackle and a penalty for throwing ourselves across the line-out. They are just ridiculous penalties which have handed them the game, if I am being honest with you.

“We have to learn our lessons because our discipline today has massively let us down, and from a position to win the game we end up losing the game, so we probably deserved what we got.”

The match got off to a disastrous start for the visitors when Benetton full-ball Smith rose unchallenged to collect George Horne‘s clearance box-kick, set off down the right touchline, then collected his own chip over the final defender to streak home unchallenged with just 35 seconds played.

Unlike the last time these two sides met at this venue back in April, Warriors refused to be ruffled by that early set-back, with winger Rufus McLean making some amends for a few uncharacteristic errors in the opening minutes by chasing down Ross Thompson‘s clever kick and bundling Eduardo Padovani back over his own try-line. That established the field position from which Jack Dempsey blasted his way home following a period of tight driving play.

Thompson couldn’t manage the conversion from halfway between the posts and the left touchline, but he had no problem taking the three easy points on offer a few minutes later when Benetton were penalised for preventing Horne from getting the ball away quickly from a ruck in front of the posts.

That put the visitors ahead, but only briefly, with a Matt Fagerson offside straight from the restart allowing the hosts to kick to the corner, and although the line-out drive was scrappy, Giovanni Pettinelli sniffed out an opportunity coming back towards the right touchline and spun off to score. Marin was again off target with the conversion.

Benetton came again, kicking a Rob Harley high tackle into the corner, and, after a sustained bombardment of the Warriors line, it looked like Smith was going to go over for his second try, but he couldn’t quite hold onto the final pass, so the hosts had to make do with three-points from a Marin penalty instead.

Warriors reclaimed the lead with five minutes of the first half to play when their line-out drive trotted all the way to the scoring zone against some pretty feeble Benetton resistance, allowing Rory Darge to get the downward pressure, with Thompson converting.


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Benetton lost their captain, Michele Lamaro, to the sin-bin after three minutes of the second half, when he flopped over the tackled man less than 90 seconds after referee Marius can der Westhuizen had given the home team a final warning about the frequency with which they were committing this sort of offence.

To rub salt into the wound, Thompson kicked the three points on offer, but Warriors failed to take any further advantage of that 10 minute period with an extra man, as the game continued to follow the disjointed pattern of the first half.

Even before Lamaro had returned to the field, Benetton had taken control, and the hosts continued ratcheting up the pressure after returning to full strength. But it was all just a bit blunt meaning it took until the 63rd minute before they managed to score again, when Marin slotted the points from a not-rolling-away penalty.

Benetton kept their foot on the gas, and were assisted by some self-destructive stuff from Warriors, such as replacement stand-off Duncan Weir sending a goal-line drop-out out on the full, which handed the hosts a scrum five with just 10 minutes to play. Then an offside penalty conceded straight from that set-piece gave Marin a chance to put his side ahead, but the 19-year-old dragged his effort to the left of the posts on this occasion.

Having ridden their luck, Warriors manage to get themselves in there strike zone when a powerful line-out drive made good ground and Johnny Matthews burst clear, but a fumble on the Benetton line a few phases later prevented what would have been the decisive score.

Instead, Warriors paid a heavy price for that succession of three penalties conceded in the final minute, with Marin showing plenty of nerve to kicking the injury-time winner, having missed a slightly easier penalty opportunity a few moments earlier.

“Horrendous – but there was a lot in that game which were penalties we should never give away,” reflected Wilson, when asked about that disastrous finale. “We need to learn the lesson because we speak about discipline too often. We need to learn the lesson because those sorts of scenarios are continually hurting us.

“When we look back we will look at the individuals who gave away the penalties away,” h added. “There are two types of penalty – there are dumb ones and ones when you take a gamble that doesn’t pay off. It is the dumb penalties we need to stop giving away. So, we need to look back and say which ones were dumb and which ones weren’t.”


Teams –

Benetton: R Smith; R Tavuyara, T Menoncello, L Morisi (J Riera 53), E Padovani; L Marin, D Duvenage (A Garbisi, 70); F Zani (T Baravalle 54), G Lucchesi (C Els 54), T Pasquali (I Nemer  41), C Wegner (N Cannone 54), F Ruzza, G Pettinelli, M Lamaro,, T Halafihi (M Zuliani 48).

Glasgow Warriors: C Forbes; K Steyn, S Tuipulotu, S Johnson, R McLean (O Smith 66); R Thompson (D Weir 66), G Horne (J Dobie 53); J Bhatti (N McBeth 77), G Turner (J Matthews 66), O Kebble (E Pieretto 46), R Harley (K McDonald 53), R Gray, M Fagerson (T Gordon 74), R Darge, J Dempsey.

Referee: Marius can der Westhuizen


Scorers –

Benetton: Tries: Smith, Pettinelli; Pen: Marin 3.

Glasgow Warriors: Tries: Dempsey, Darge; Con: Thompson; Pen: Thompson 2.

Scoring sequence (Benetton first): 5-0; 5-5; 5-8; 10-8; 13-8; 13-13; 13-15 (h-t) 13-18; 16-18; 19-18.


Yellow cards –

Benetton: Lamaro (43mins)

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About David Barnes 3956 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. Sadly from the moment Rennie took control Glasgow have been going backwards. This was one of the poorest Glasgow performances since they were hammered by Benneton (again). Sloppy play no attacking rhythm, very little imagination it is like Glasgow and Edinburgh have switched their mojos. Edinburgh looked really sharp, Glasgow looked second class. And to top it all they’ve moved the time of next Saturday’s game. Was looking forward to watching Glasgow at 1.35pm then Jools Holland, after that performance I know which tickets I won’t use.

  2. What is the criticism of Ali Price in this discussion? He want playing!
    His last 8 games have been South Africa, South Africa, South Africa, Leinster, Tonga, Australia, South Africa, Japan.
    That is a tough run of games.

    And with due respect to Ben Vellacott – and he has looked very good – you cannot compare performances against Scarlets, Treviso, Stormers and Dragons to the opposition Ali has been playing.

  3. Well December is always a tough month with Europe however based on the reoccurring errors it’s just got a whole lot harder. If Wilson leaves what happens he will no doubt be moved to some other SRU job and the next in line from the gravey train will pitch up and off we go again. Clear out the lot Murray etc.

  4. So much to criticise, but the final passage of play sums it up. It takes extraordinary incompetence to lose a game when you are two points up with a put-in on the opposition five metre line and just two minutes left on the clock. But you could feel that was exactly what was going to happen – and lo, it came to pass. Wilson has talked of introducing a more pragmatic style, yet all he has done is blunt a sharp weapon. Give us back the attacking Glasgow we all loved. By contrast Edinburgh were brilliant – and the difference between the two sides was perhaps best illustrated by the performance of their sacrum halves. If we’re being honest, Vellacott must surely be ahead of Horne in the Scotland queue by now.

  5. That was the worst performance I can remember from Glasgow ever. It had every possible error you could imagine from Glasgow and they played like they had never met before. What has happened to the high tempo game they used to play. There was a complete lack of intensity in most of their play – Does Kebble know that you are allowed to run forward when you take the ball rather than standing still. The forwards are so static and don’t hit the line hard to break tackles. Do they train to play like this. Having just watched Edinburgh it was like watching a different game – they had forwards running hard at the line and generating quick ball and they were able to recycle through 10+ phases on most plays. They look so much sharper than Glasgow.

    Regards the scrum half discussion – Vellacot looks more like George Horne than George does. I have been a great fan of Horne but he seems to have lost his mojo – he is best playing at 100mph not slow box kicking rugby which he is not so good at. Vellacot has been a revelation and really drives the high tempo Edinburgh game- they are currently playing quality rugby way ahead of Glasgow. The final passage of play in the Glasgow game was criminal – they were in the opposition 22 in control and then they give 3 penalties away in succession – 2 at least totally senseless – you couldn’t make it up. Some backsides need kicked.

  6. Edinburgh showed how Scottish teams should play……. Vellacott was superb (especially in 1st 1/4) and playing Kinghorn at 10 certainly keeps the defence honest.
    Crosbie was tremendous, he makes yards, tackles well and is has a good bit of dog about him.
    Shows what Glasgow did wring, Vellacott is equal to Price this season and much better than any other Scottish 9

    • Vellacott is not equal to Price. This was Dragons no SA, Aus or anything close.
      Vellacott plays like George Horne. Neither can manage a game against a top team. What is very clear now is that Horne’s form has fallen off a cliff, while Vellacott did what he does really well – and will replace Horne in he 6N squad unless both have a reversal of form. Or we jump to Dobie

      • This season Vellacott is better (based on games, form) than Price, he has been quite superb for Edinburgh. Much better than Jorne, alas George Horne is more a 7s player than a 15s, no control, can’t control a game, superb in broken play.

  7. Can I supplement Keith’s great comment by asking how much longer can Wilson continue with no feet. That was another defeat by Benetton it’s becoming a habit. I’ll make some allowance for the 3 week layoff but that looked like a collection of individuals not a team. Some good individual performances Dempsey looks a find , but were Mclean and Steyn on the pitch they hardly saw the ball they 9/10 axis looked limited. With 2 tries in first 5 minutes thought we were in for a good game, but no , certainly not from Glasgow who managed to loose a good lead through their own misdemeanors.

  8. Only Blind Pew could fail to notice the pattern of penalties that both our Professional and International sides offer up to the opposition.
    Lest we forget the game last week against Japan,15 penalties a potential 45 points minimum in theory and if the other side could take advantage of hoofing it down towards our Try-line, who knows what the potential loss of points could amount to.
    Where’s the Admiral Benbow Inn when it’s needed, perhaps it’s time to offer up the ‘Black Spot’: the trouble is, who gets it, the Coaches or the Players?

    • as of today, several players. Too many individual errors and poor decisions. and complete anonymity by one or 2 senior players

  9. Most depressing game I have ever seen from the Warriors. The second half was so poor they did not deserve to win. Would’ve been better if Benetton had won it sooner as their and our play deserved. Now there is the mental scarring of that “penalty trilogy” which took Glasgow from possession in the opponent’s 22 in the 79th minute to losing the game. Is it really true that night is darkest just before the dawn?

  10. Discipline and stupid penalties aside, it’s difficult to see what Glasgow’s game plan actually is. The attacking intent of years gone by either isn’t there at all or isn’t being brought to fruition.

    I do wish they’d commit to helping Jamie Dobie becoming the terrific player he looks like being and give him proper game time, George Horne really isn’t up to much unless the team he’s in are entirely on the front foot (which isn’t happening much at all nowadays).

  11. Discipline and penalties have been an ongoing issue the past two seasons.
    Surely it is the coaches responsibility to help the players address this? Last season Glasgow also faded badly in the second half of a number of games.

    Coaching, conditioning and tactics appear to be a large part of the problem?

    • Astonishingly unprofessional from Glasgow. Few were exempt from criticism when mistakes compounded mistakes. Enthusiasm is one thing but there were some experienced players on the park who couldn’t make good decisions or plays when the chips were down. Lack of maturity and understanding or how to win games sits ultimately with the leaders on the park. Coaches can only do so much.

  12. Gray a waste of a jersey, zero impact
    Harley, not a lot better
    Horne, passing poor and decision making as bad, both marginally better than his box kicks Same all season
    Weir comes on to close he game, throws an impossible pass to Darge, Glasgow turned over and pushed into 22. hen he puts a goal line drop out out on the full, attacking scrum

    Need to replace these guys. They are ex heros now liabilities


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