Harley and Aramburu motivators for bonus point win | McDowall
On a night where a Glasgow legend took centre stage, Stafford McDowall was quick to highlight the determination amongst the squad to make sure that Rob Harley’s final regular-season home game was marked in style.
Six tries ensured that the Warriors would take all five points from a crucial Scottish-Italian Shield clash, earning a 40-12 victory over Zebre Parma to boost their pursuit of a home quarter-final spot in the United Rugby Championship.
“We talked a lot this week about doing it for Rob, the standards he constantly sets and what this club means to him,” McDowall told glasgowwarriors.org post-match.
“We also wanted to pay tribute to Federico [Aramburu], as he’s someone that made a massive impact during his time at the club. They both exemplify what it means to pull on the Glasgow Warriors jersey, and those were two massive motivating factors for us this week.
“It’s great to get the bonus-point tonight, too. It’s a tightly-packed race for the playoffs, and we know that every point is so important at this point in the season.
At the heart of the victory was a hat-trick from Johnny Matthews, with the Liverpudlian becoming the first hooker in Glasgow Warriors history to cross for three tries in a single match.
The first Warrior to score three times in a fixture since Niko Matawalu in 2018 to boot, McDowall was delighted for his club-mate.
“Three maul tries, does that really count as a hat-trick?” joked the centre.
“Nah, all joking aside I’m so happy for Johnny. He’s an absolutely brilliant guy who puts in a tonne of work at training, so to see it all pay off for him tonight was amazing."
The victory also saw McDowall rekindle his midfield partnership with Kyle Steyn, the pair making a significant impact with and without the ball under the Friday night lights.
“It was good to link up with Steyno in the centres again, definitely,” said McDowall.
“We played together quite a lot when we both broke into the squad back in 2019, and it’s a lot of fun to link up with him. He’s a great communicator and a top-class all-rounder.
“We’d worked a lot as a team on our defence and we all fronted up well tonight. Scoring six tries was great, but it was also pleasing to see how well we defended and bounced back from last week.”
A down week now awaits the Warriors, as McDowall and company enjoy some well-earned downtime ahead of a big series of fixtures that kicks-off with a European Challenge Cup round-of-16 tie in a fortnight’s time.
“It’s a good chance for us to recharge the batteries, reconnect with friends and family, and get a bit of a breather after a big stretch of games,” said McDowall.
“We’ll then be coming back in ready for a big week of European rugby, and then getting set to go to South Africa for a couple of games against two squads absolutely packed with talent.
“We’ll be ready to go, and we’ll be looking to hit the ground running.”