Warriors demonstrate the art of winning ugly
DAVID BARNES @Scotstoun
It won’t be remembered as one of Scotstoun’s great nights, but every win counts if you want to be a team competing at the top of the Championship, and the Glasgow Warriors overcame determined opposition and treacherous conditions to get what they needed. they need. of this game.
It would have been nice to pick up a bonus point that would have put them level with Leinster at the top of the United Rugby Championship table, but the Warriors had the maturity to recognize that was not going to happen for them in this game. , and the self-control to resist any foolish attempt to force the issue.
Instead, they were content to close out the game and take the four points that put them in second place in the table, for now. Even if Ulster go back ahead of the Scots by beating the Dragons at Rodney Parade tomorrow [Sunday] afternoon, the Scots will have one game less on their Northern Irish rivals.
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“They all matter, and that’s the key,” Wilson shrugged then. “You look at the conditions, the guys were saying it was very difficult there and it got worse as the game went on.
“We were very good on one side of the ball, it was a big defensive turn against a brave side that weren’t going to give up the fight. But they sent us a huge amount of through balls and we tended to overplay or make mistakes, so the attacking side of our game wasn’t good at all tonight.
“Our defense kept us in the game, we scored two tries and we got a home win. It’s five [league] winning on the rebound, and if we can play the ball badly and still win, that’s positive.
“We did something similar against Munster last weekend when we won in difficult conditions. You have to be able to do that because if you try to play all the rugby in games like this- there, you end up feeding the opposition.
“Treviso at home in the international window with players missing for both teams, you would probably look at that and go for five points, but under the circumstances I’m glad we came out of it with four. If we can play like we we did tonight – lousy – and winning is the mark of a good team.
An early exchange of ruck penalties between Domingue Miotti (making his first start for Warriors) and Tomas Albonorz of Benetton made it 3-3 in just six minutes of play, before Rufus McLean thought he opened the game with a breakaway try.
A loose ball in midfield was hacked in front, and the winger – who had come out of the Scottish half – showed his trademark pace to fly over Benetton’s backfield and dive on the ball into the end zone , before making a career on the dead-ball line and in billboards, however the referee Frank Murphy viewed replay footage and ruled the winger failed to put the ball down legally.
The Warriors didn’t let the near miss knock them out of rhythm, and full-back Ollie Smith showed his roommate McLean how it was done minutes later when he walked and bounced past three Italian tacklers and stretched to the line for a try almost exactly midway through the first half.
Smith, who found himself man of the match, threatened again when he escaped a few minutes, and he had options both left and right but did not release any of the support runners, so he ended up being tackled by the last man and the luck was gone.
It remained a suspicious affair for the rest of the first half, although the Benetton winger Rhino Smith made a decent attempt to liven things up when he launched an ambitious drop-goal attempt midway through. He wasn’t far – certainly much closer than Finn Russell in Cardiff last weekend – but he was floating left of the posts.
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Wilson explained after his match that he sent Ross Thompson in the 47th minute with instructions to play a territorial game in rapidly deteriorating conditions, and the young opponent wasted no time in delivering what was asked of him, with an excellent kick into the corner establishing the position on the field for a test of Jack Dempsey Five minutes later.
By this stage, Benetton were down to 14 men for 10 minutes with No.8 Lorenzo Cannone in the bin for a dangerous tackle on Fraser Brown at the back of a lineout.
With pouring rain, conditions were difficult and both teams struggled to assert themselves in an attacking sense. The Warriors had more control over the game and long spells in their opponents’ 22s, but they couldn’t make it count on the scoreboard, so they did a good job of closing out the game instead.
Then the Scarlets are away in two weekends, and the Warriors will approach this game with justified belief in their ability to claim four out of four wins during this time they have been without their frontline internationalists who are on duty in the Six nations.
Glasgow Warriors: O Smith; W Fifita (S McDowall 71), K Steyn, S Johnson, R McLean; D Miotti (R Thompson 47), G Horne (J Dobie 47); O Kebble (N McBeth 65), F Brown (J Matthews 63), S Berghan (E Pieretto 65), K McDonald (L Bean 58), R Gray, R Wilson, T Gordon, J Dempsey (A Miller 58).
Benetton Rugby: Bell T; L Pani (R Tavuyara 62), J Riera (L Petrozzi, 63), F Drago, R Smith; T Albornoz, A Garbisi; T Gallo (M Drudi 58), G Nicotera, N Tetaz (F Alongi 58), I Herbst (M Meggiato 9, M Lazzaroni 35), C Wegner (C Els 54), M Zuliani, Y Fantini (A Izekor 50), L Cannon.
Arbitrator: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Glasgow Warriors: Try: Smith, Dempsey; Pen: Miotti.
Benetton: Pen: Albornoz
Scoring sequence (Glasgow first): 3-0; 3-3; 8-3 (ht) 13-8;
Yellow cards –
Benetton: Cannon (50 mins)
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