March 06, 2015
Glasgow Warriors 26 - 5 Zebre
GUINNESS PRO12 match played at Scotstoun on Friday March 6th 2015 | No comments
Chris Fusaro marked his return to action with a try Glasgow went back to the top of the PRO12 after this evening's bonus point win over Zebre at Scotstoun.
DTH Van der Merwe scored twice for the Warriors with Chris Fusaro and Kevin Bryce also touching down with a try each. Fly-half Peter Horne kicked two conversions and Connor Braid one as Glasgow moved above Munster who play tomorrow.
Dion Berryman scored Italian side Zebre's only points with a try in the 58th minute.
Glasgow made full use of the good conditions that prevailed at Scotstoun during the first half, before torrential second-half rain made for grim viewing.
The hosts had the bonus point in the bag by the break after DTH van der Merwe scored the first try in the fourth minute, flanker Fusaro rounded off a line-out drive, hooker Bryce burst through a couple of tackles for the third and three minutes from the turn van der Merwe bagged his second.
Stand-off Horne converted the first two, before withdrawing with a head knock, and Braid converted the third.
Zebre showed up better in the second period with replacement scrum-half Brendon Leonard bringing focus and winger Berryman scoring a good try from a grubber kick.
Glasgow, who suffered a late change, with Adam Ashe dropping out from the back row after suffering a recurrence of a neck injury, attacked off their first line out. Scrum-half Nikola Matawalu deftly fed prop Rossouw De Klerk who in turn put in van der Merwe for a converted try.
Zebre lost scrum-half Alberto Chillon to the sin bin in the 17th minute, with the subsequent penalty leading to Fusaro's try.
Horne kicked the conversion but then left the field with a head injury to be replaced by Braid.
Zebre staged a period of line-out driving in the home 22 but Glasgow were able to resist their attack.
Matawalu fed hooker Bryce in the 28th minute and he broke through and touched down for Braid to convert.
Following a cross-field break by winger Lee Jones, Glasgow trapped Zebre in their 22.
A six-minute period saw first Matteo Pratichetti, then captain Mauro Bergamasco sin-binned, before Matawalu saw a try chalked off and finally van der Merwe scored the bonus-point try.
Braid could not convert, but Glasgow went into half-time leading 26-0.
In driving rain, the first action after the break was a missed Zebre penalty by centre Mirco Bergamasco.
Adapting to the conditions, the Zebre full-back Giulio Toniolatti produced a nice grubber kick for winger Berryman to touch down for an unconverted try, as the third quarter ended.
Glasgow were in defence for the rest of the match, with replacements Glenn Bryce and Will Bordill spending time in the sin bin, but were in no danger of slipping up against the struggling Italians.
Speaking to glasgowwarriors.org after the game, Gregor Townsend said: “We knew it was going to be a tough period but the players have trained really well and that’s the important thing.
"They’ve worked hard and they’ve got the results that they’ve earned and it’s been great to see a number of different players get opportunities to play. The fact this work has been put in during this period really sets us up for an exciting finish to the season.
"We’ll be in the top two going into our next game and there’s five games left now, which is great.
“Last year we lost two games during this period, so we knew we had to perform better this year and that’s what the players have done.”
The Warriors have used 52 players used over the course of the season so far and Gregor insists that's one of the reasons why the current season structure works.
He said: “It shows we’ve got a big squad and not just a big squad for this year but a strong squad for the years to come.
"A number of players have managed to get game time and our young players have shown what they can do. They’ve also fitted in very well with our type of rugby and our identity, which is what you want from whoever is wearing that Warriors jersey and I thought they did that very well tonight."
Next up for Warriors is a trip to Dublin to face Leinster in three weeks and the head coach is excited about the trip to the RDS after some close battles in recent seasons.
He added: “It’s a place we’ve had some really good battles but we’ve not won there in the last three years.
"We should be boosted from the players coming back from Scotland and our target is to go there and play our best rugby.”