GREGOR TOWNSEND’S men took another significant step towards a home play-off semi-final tie with a bonus point victory at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi. The Warriors won by a comfortable margin in the end, but three tries for Jerry Yanuyanutawa, Taqele Naiyaravoro and Peter Horne in the last ten minutes gave the final result a complexion which did not do justice to the contribution the hosts made to an action packed thriller of a match.
This victory shifted the Warriors to within two points of second placed Connacht, and they have now played the same number of games. They visit fourth placed Scarlets next Saturday, before entertaining Zebre back at Scotstoun the following Friday, and then it is over to Galway to take on Connacht in what has the potential to be massive game on the final weekend of the regular season. Having now won seven games on the bounce, momentum is on their side.
Leonardo Sarto, who will move from Zebre to the Warriors next season gave his future employers a close-up glimpse of what he is capable of when he grabbed the lead for the hosts after just four minutes. But Glasgow were never likely to let this early set-back disrupt their tempo and they marched straight back up-field, and after laying siege to the Zebre try line for almost 15 minutes they finally got their reward through a Fraser Brown try.
No sooner had Duncan Weir squared things with his conversion than the pendulum had swung back towards Zebre, with Sarto once again in the thick of the action. The home team recaptured the lead through a Guglielmo Palazzani try, once again converted by Carla Canna.
Canna missed a penalty which would have extended his team’s advantage to ten points but his team continued to pile on the pressure – but they could not extend their lead before half-time, and the Warriors looked a rejuvenated force after the break.
Tommy Seymour went over after a barnstorming break by Naiyaravoro, but the try was chalked off for a knock-on during the build-up. It was only a brief reprieve for the home side, however, with scrum-half Ali Price going over in the 45th minute.
Alex Dunbar then put Glasgow into the lead for the first time in the match after a hitting a fine angle and charging home from well over 20 meres out, before Horne wrapped up the bonus point just short of the hour mark.
Zebre continue to battle away, and the game was being played a frantic tempo, but Glasgow now had the bit between their teeth – and when Naiyaravoro went over for try number five as the game entered its final ten minutes, the stuffing was finally been knocked out of the home team.
Yanuyanutawa and Horne piled on the misery for the Italians during the final five minutes.
Zebre: Tries: Sarto, Palazzani; Con: Canna 2
Warriors: Tries: Brown, Price, Dunbar, Horne 2, Naiyaravoro, Yanuyanutawa; Cons: Weir 3, Russell
Zebre: K Van Zyl; D Berryman (G Palazzani 69), M Pratichetti, G Garcia (G Bisegni 52), L Sarto ( L Burgess 43-50); C Canna (K Haimona 67), G Palazzani (L Burgess 62); A Lovotti (B Postiglioni 58) , O Fabiani, D Christolini (P Ceccarelli 52), Q Geldenhuys (V Bernabo 53), M Bortolami, E Caffini (F Cristiano 67), F Ruzza, G Koegelen
Warriors: G Bryce; T Naiyaravoro, A Dunbar (M Bennett 62), P Horne, T Seymour; D Weir, A Price (H Pyrgos 54); G Reid (J Yanuyanutawa 69), F Brown (P MacArthur 25), Z Fagerson (D Rae 54), L Nakawara (G Peterson 62), J Gray, R Harley, S Favaro (A Ashe 65), R Wilson.