Zebre 7-31 Glasgow Warriors

Glasgow Warriors secured a second successive bonus-point victory in the Guinness PRO14, running in five tries to overpower Zebre by 31-7 in Parma this afternoon.

A brace of tries from George Horne and a man-of-the-match performance from Adam Hastings proved to be the catalyst for the win, as the Warriors proved too strong for their hosts at the Stadio Lanfranchi.

The game began at a frenetic pace, as both sides looked to get an early foothold in the match. It was the visitors that looked the most likely to follow through on that intention, though; wingers Ratu Tagive and DTH van der Merwe each looked lively in the opening exchanges, challenging the Zebre defence.

Whilst the Italian side were able to repel those arly threats, they were powerless to prevent the Warriors taking the lead on 13 minutes. Showing sharper thinking than anyone else on the pitch, Horne out-witted the defence with a quickly-tapped penalty from five metres out to scurry over, with Hastings converting for a 7-0 lead.

Having notched his first try of the new campaign, it was no surprise to see Horne double up just eight minutes later. This time the scrum-half was on the end of a well-crafted team score; Fraser Brown’s inside ball released the rampaging Tagive, who had the simple task of drawing the last man and feeding the supporting Horne for the run-in. The conversion was wayward, but the Warriors had a 12-0 lead.

Straight from the kick-off, Dave Rennie’s men almost found their way to the whitewash once more. Ryan Wilson’s angled run saw him break the defensive line and offload to the supporting Sam Johnson, who in turn fed centre partner Kyle Steyn. Whilst the Zebre defence scrambled to deny the Scotland 7s cap, there was no doubt as to the side in the ascendency.

With the Warriors defence holding firm in the face of Zebre’s first real attack on the half-hour mark – van der Merwe and Brown to the fore in a physical defensive effort – it was left to the attack to finish the half with a flourish. Another break from Tagive took play to within five metres, and when the ball was recycled it was Hastings who showed some good footwork and awareness to reach out and touch down. The fly-half then converted his own try, handing his side a 19-0 lead at the interval.

Three tries to the good, Dave Rennie and his coaching staff would have been stressing the importance of securing the try bonus-point during their half-time messages. It took just six minutes of the second stanza for the all-important fourth try to arrive; with the forwards exerting all kinds of pressure inside the Zebre 22, Horne’s decision to whip the ball wide allowed Hastings and Johnson to combine to devastating effect. All that was left was the scoring touch, something Tagive was all too happy to provide.

It was to get worse for the hosts on 55 minutes – a promising attack was brought to an end by the illegal intervention of Johan Meyer, with the flanker’s shoulder charge to the head of Scott Cummings picked up by referee Ian Davies. After consulting with the TMO, the South African was given his marching orders, and the hosts were down to 14 men for the remainder of the tie.

Yet the loss of their openside flanker seemed to galvanise the Italian side. Indeed just two minutes later, Zebre finally found a way through the Warriors defence. Successive short-range lineouts eventually yielded points, as Pierre Bruno crashed over for the try. Carlo Canna’s conversion was on target from the touchline, and the hosts were on the board.

The hosts seemed to grow into the game following that score, hammering away at the Glasgow defensive line in search of a quickfire second. Try as they might, however, they were unable to find a way through, despite the game being reduced to 14-a-side for the final 10 minutes following a yellow card for George Turner.

Instead, it was the visitors who would have the final word on the scoreboard. A speculative pass from Zebre on halfway found nothing but the turf, with Tommy Seymour all to happy to hack the ball into the home side’s 22. The Warriors full-back seemed certain to score, but the bounce of the ball had other ideas. Thankfully for the travelling Glasgow supporters, Nick Frisby was on hand to follow up and touch down for the score, with Ruaridh Jackson adding the extra two points to put the final flourish on proceedings.

Five tries, five points and a second successive victory for the Warriors – attentions will now turn to the visit of Sale Sharks to Scotstoun next weekend, as Rennie’s men look to open their Heineken Champions Cup campaign in the best possible fashion.

live commentary 3:00 PM Saturday 9 Nov 2019

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Kick-off 3:00 PM

Zebre

Glasgow Warriors

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