Zebre V Glasgow Warriors
Glasgow Warriors saw off a spirited Zebre comeback in Parma, doing enough to return to Scotstoun with a bonus-point win.
A brace from Sean Lamont plus tries from Fraser Brown and Leonardo Sarto was enough to pip the Italian side, who threatened to take the spoils late on.
It was the hosts who started the game with the most intensity and they were in the lead after just 90 seconds. Italian international Carlo Canna converting a penalty after Glasgow were offside.
Warriors soon focused and after 7 minutes they had the lead. Captain Ryan Wilson showed a great understanding of the laws to upset a maul and as the crowd protested Glasgow countered.
Lee Jones hurtled down the left wing and it took three Zebre defenders to haul him down 5 meters short. Sean Lamont was close behind and he collected the ball to dive over and give Glasgow the lead.
With Clegg’s conversion just fading wide Warriors led 3-5 and the game settled as both sides found their rhythm.
Canna put the hosts ahead with 15 minutes gone with another clinical penalty and at 6-5 Leonardo Sarto was reintroduced to his former fans perhaps earlier than he expected as he replaced Lee Jones who had picked up knock to his knee.
Clegg opened his points account with two penalties in close succession just before the half hour as the Warriors began to apply some pressure and at 6-11 it looked as if Glasgow would kick on.
Again the momentum swung and straight from a restart Zebre collected and offloaded to hooker Fabiani. He evaded a tackle with some lovely footwork and crossed to even the scoreboard.
Glasgow thought they scored another under the posts but the referee spotted an infringement in the build-up and off a resulting scuffle Matt Fagerson and opposite open-side Johan Meyer were sent to the bin for 10 minutes.
With Glasgow looking to play, Nick Grigg’s attacking running began to cause Zebre problems and collecting a messy ball in his own 22 he looked up and went.
Spotting a gap and stepping his man it looked as if his dynamism was surely going to take him all the way to the try-line but a desperate tackle pulled him down just short.
Glasgow recycled well and the ball made its way through the hands to Fraser Brown who dotted down in the far corner.
Clegg’s conversion sailed over on the stroke of half time meaning Glasgow went into the break with a 11-18 lead.
Warriors started the second half with intent and consistent pressure forced a number of penalties and just as Fagerson and Meyer came back onto the pitch Giulio Bisegni was shown a yellow giving Glasgow a man advantage.
It didn’t take the visitors long to capitalize, Grigg again darting through the Zebre defence. This time his offload found Sean Lamont who ran in for his second of the night and 30th of his Warriors career.
The bonus-point try followed shortly after. Grigg the provider once more making the most of a broken field and his flat pass released Sarto who showed good pace to score his first competitive try for the Warriors against his old club.
Ahead 11-30 Glasgow rung the changes which included Callum Hunter-Hill coming on to make his Warriors debut.
Refusing to roll over Zebre hit back, exploiting a broken field just as Glasgow had done previously and a lovely grubber through from replacement fly-half Boni bounced up perfectly for Venditti who raced in to score.
With the lead reduced to 18-30 it was backs to the wall for the Warriors and Zebre surged forward determined to get something from the game.
For 15 minutes the Warriors defence was tested as Zebre kept them pinned inside their 22, earning several breakdown penalties and kicking to the corner every time.
Rob Harley was sin-binned during Warriors’ defensive effort and just as it looked as if Warriors’ had weathered the storm the hosts set up a nail biting finish.
A clearance kick from a Glasgow turnover dropped into the hands of Zebre’s attack and the home side moved the ball smartly for number 8 Van Schalkwyk to score.
With the conversion sailing over it was a nervy last 5 minutes for Glasgow. However calm heads earned them a penalty and Rory Clegg put the result to bed with one minute to play.
A last gasp penalty to Zebre earned them the bonus point their performance merited.