URC: Glasgow v Benetton: Warriors win but Franco Smith wants more

Bonus-point win sees Scotstoun side climb to second in table behind Leinster on points difference

George Horne celebrates during the United Rugby Championship match between Glasgow Warriors and Benetton at Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
George Horne celebrates during the United Rugby Championship match between Glasgow Warriors and Benetton at Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Glasgow Warriors 26

Benetton 12

GRAEME MACPHERSON @ Scotstoun Stadium

THE points keep adding up for Glasgow Warriors but Franco Smith was never likely to be sated by the scoreline alone.

Four tries against a determined Benetton side secured another bonus-point victory, one that sees Warriors whizzing up the United Rugby Championship table and into second spot (behind Leinster on points difference).

It was a fourth win from five games so far this season, with Josh McKay, Kyle Rowe, Sebastian Cancelliere and George Horne all scoring excellent tries from open play, with Warriors for once not reliant on the maul drive to put points on the board.


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Other positives included the return of George Turner and Tom Gordon for their first appearances of the season, while there was a competitive debut for 21-year-old lock Max Williamson in the second half.

So much for the good stuff. Smith, though, is something of a perfectionist and it was not difficult to detect his frustration with some of his team’s indiscipline – that saw McKay and then Gordon both sin-binned – as well as other acts of folly.

The relentless rain undoubtedly didn’t help, while Smith also felt an eagerness to impress the crowd might also have played a part. It left the Glasgow head coach fielding mixed emotions come full-time.

“Obviously I’m very happy with the win,” he said. “Nobody here will ever take that for granted. But I still feel there is so much in us. I’m looking at other wins tonight.

“We’ve used most of the squad that is available, we’ve rested our internationals, we’ve shown some good physicality in defence and the set-piece area of the game. We scored some very good tries, and apart from the Stormers, we’ve scored four tries every game. There is a lot to be thankful for and I’m excited to see what’s ahead.

“We made a lot of errors tonight. We put ourselves under pressure, but we’ll find a solution for that. There are two big enemies in rugby. One is doubt and the second is expectation.

“The players here don’t want to disappoint, they want to show eagerness, and most of the errors we are making are just over-eagerness.

“When you get out of a maul set-up and trip over your own feet, it’s something strange. You cannot doubt their effort, their will and want and their eagerness. Technically we are sound, we just have to get that mental balance.”

All Benetton’s points came off the tee, with Tomas Albornoz kicking three penalties and Jacob Umaga adding a fourth in the second half.

Twice they came close to landing a try, only for a brilliant Matt Fagerson tackle to cause Marco Zanon to drop the ball close to the line, after Tom Jordan and Cancelliere had combined just before half-time to shove Marcus Watson into touch when he looked set to score. It was another aspect of his team’s play that pleased Smith.

“It’s something we lacked last year,” he added. “There were certain aspects we felt we had to improve a lot on. Physically from an athletic development point of view, we have grown a lot and got better. I’m excited about that, but we are still not close to being the finished product.”

His team were 6-0 down – it could have been 9-0 had Albornoz made an attempted drop goal – before they got going.

A 50-22 from Stafford McDowall, the man-of-the-match, got Warriors up the park and from the line-out the ball was worked through hands for McKay to score.

The second owed much to Cancelliere’s slippery excellence, the Argentine bursting through a gap in the Benetton defence to provide an easy chance for Rowe to get his first home try.

Cancelliere was pivotal again for the third, taking a quick line-out to McKay who in turn fed Horne. He burst through before passing to Cancelliere to finish.

Horne had the last say as he secured the bonus point. Now stationed out on the wing after Sean Kennedy had come on for the injured Cancelliere, he took a pass from McKay over the Benetton medic’s head, and evaded a tackle on the line to touch down.

It wasn’t perfect from Glasgow but their fans seemed content enough as they headed out into the rain and set off for home.

 

Teams –

Glasgow Warriors: J McKay; S Cancelliere (S Kennedy 63), S Tuipulotu, S McDowall, K Rowe; T Jordan (R Thompson 78), G Horne; J Bhatti (A Dell 53), G Turner (J Matthews 53), L Sordoni (E Pieretto 60), S Manjezi (G Peterson 53), R Gray (M Williamson 60), M Fagerson, T Gordon (A Miller 62), S Vailanu

Benetton: G Da Re; M Watson, N Brex, M Zanon, P Odogwu; T Albornoz (J Umaga 42), A Garbisi (D Duvenage 44); I Nemer (M Spagnolo 42), G Lucchesi, S Ferrari (T Pasquali 45), N Cannone (G Koegelenberg 69), F Ruzza, S Negri (G Pettinelli 27), M Lamaro, T Halafihi (H Time-Stowers 53).

Referee: Andy Brace

 

Scorers –

Glasgow Warriors: Tries: McKay, Rowe, Cancelliere, Horne; Cons: Horne 3.

Benetton: Pens: Albornoz 3, Umaga.

Scoring sequence (Glasgow first): 0-3; 0-6; 5-6; 7-6; 12-6; 14-6; 14-9 (h-t) 19-9; 19-12; 24-12; 26-12.

 

Yellow cards –

Glasgow Warriors: J McKay, T Gordon

 

Attendance: 5,685


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About Graeme Macpherson 44 Articles
Graeme Macpherson is a freelance sports writer who covers rugby for a number of outlets.

14 Comments

  1. Glasgow look a decent team at the moment with good coaching, good defence, decent backs, decent set piece and a good maul. If they can reduce the errors, improve discipline and have a bit more luck with injuries they have the making of a very good team.

  2. A mixed game from Tom Jordan last night, we need Ross Thomson to quickly recover his form from a few seasons ago – and for Jordan to recover his form from last season!

  3. Benneton are obviously well coached and disciplined and for much of the game were sort of on top, however tremendous defence and 4 backs tries won the game.
    Cancelliere had a great game, McDowall has a good kicking game but Huw Jones was missed for his magic.
    Ultimately a great win.
    Incidentally a thought provoking post on Glasgow Warriors forum re Corey Flynns podcast and his opinion on GT – his way or the highway, his manner, what he inherited/squandered from Cotter etc etc 🤔

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  4. What not a maul try in sight, all 4 from open play standard Glasgow stuff, go figure. Good game in tough conditions, thought Benetton are a much improved team. A few things if they had gone their way might have been a different score. That said thought the defense was impressive tonight. Thought Vailanu was great again tonight hope Cancelliere is OK , good to see Thompson back for all of 3 minutes but we are in trouble over our lack of 9’s cover and 2 yellows will hurt us against top tier teams.
    Lets hope we can get a decent team out for next week, Ulster will not be as forgiving.

  5. A full 3 min for Thomson and yet again nothing for the rest of the young Scottish players…next RWC will be very painful even with the format change.

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    • Something obviously going on there with Thomson, can’t tell if he’s not ready or not fitting in?

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      • Benneton are obviously well coached and disciplined and for much of the game were sort of on top, however tremendous defence and 4 backs tries won the game.
        Cancelliere had a great game, McDowall has a good kicking game but Huw Jones was missed for his magic.
        Ultimately a great win.
        Incidentally a thought provoking post on Glasgow Warriors forum re Corey Flynns podcast and his opinion on GT – his way or the highway, his manner, what he inherited/squandered from Cotter etc etc 🤔

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    • No mention of Angus Fraser, Alex Samuel, Max Williamson (Debut today if you were paying attention), Rory Darge, Gregor Brown, Jamie Dobie or Oli Smith in your expert analysis there. All have had game-time.

      Murphy Walker been carrying an Injury all season so far . Expect to see him feature soon. Euan Ferrie recently recovered also (as has Ross Thompson!).

      Ben Afshar, Richie Simpson (currently injured), Duncan Munn all will very likely make appearances this season. Particularly in international windows.

      Wider-chance of making Debut but it would not shock me if the likes of Kerr Johnstone and Callum Norrie

      Kyle Rowe and Stafford McDowall within a year of age of Ross Thompson also.

      So what on earth are you talking about? Thats just Glasgow alone. I also was disappointed that Thompson only got 3 minutes, particularly with the game won 65 minutes in. But you perspective is flawed.

      I’m sure if you actually looked ahead to what the squad will likely be in 4 years you will realise it should be stronger than most in our professional era, and no reason why it could not be our best.

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  6. A good win Glasgow, hard earned, well done.
    A point though looking ahead, we must reduce the silly penalty count against Ulster or we will suffer the consequences, they will punish us unlike Benetton?

    An observation from me, why was the ground not at capacity for a match against one of the current form sides in the URC, I live down South so not in a position to challenge but it’s not a good look on Tele with so many empty seats visible to sponsors etc.?

    Again, a good Glasgow win against tricky opponents.

    • Was at the game last night and agree about the crown being slightly sparse in places. Not helped by the weather, however since lockdown even when full it’s just not the same atmosphere as before, with the exception of the excellent and raucous East Stand.
      Everyone probably has their own opinions, however its not helped by the fact that we are now a competently coach team with better than average for the league players but few (wee George and Marvellous Mathews apart) real X factor players in key positions. A situation not helped by the SRU consistently favouring one of its offspring’s over the other.

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  7. A good win Glasgow, hard earned, well done.
    A point though looking ahead, we must reduce the silly penalty count against Ulster or we will suffer the consequences, they will punish us unlike Benetton?

    An observation from me, why was the ground not at capacity for a match against one of the current form sides in the URC, I live down South so not in a position to challenge but it’s not a good look on Tele with so many empty seats visible to sponsors etc.?

    Again, well done Glasgow, good win against tricky opponents.

  8. Benetton are a very much improved outfit these days, and were the only unbeaten team for good reason. For a lot of the game they were more cohesive than we were, consistently making ground – but up stepped our defence, which I thought was tremendous last night.

    Whole team played well, although the scrum looked under real pressure after the subs came on. Stafford continues to impress and have to congratulate Franco for having the vision to push him and give him the captains band when others not there. He may struggle to get many international caps with the competition he has, but he could/should have a long and successful career at Glasgow as club captain or vice.

    Didn’t really notice Williamson in a good way as he seemed to slot straight in… think that Franco has nailed it in that most of our errors (slippy ball apart) come from over eagerness and trying to force it – need to keep the heid a bit more.

    A v good win, in quite difficult conditions – been a while since we could say that about both Warriors and Edinburgh….

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    • Big difference between Scottish and Irish teams – patience – the Irish have patience and do not throw crazy passes and diving over the ball. The Glasgow penalty count is ridiculous – three in first 5 minutes. We can’t blame the referees all the time. Fallowing the Weir farce I assume we will now see Jordan cited.

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