WHEN these two teams last met just four weeks ago Glasgow stuck six tries past the Italians. Yesterday at Scotstoun, Gregor Townsend’s men managed just one and they were happy enough to limp over the finish line with their nose just ahead of the visitors.
In miserable conditions Glasgow made heavy weather of beating the worst team in the league despite the Italians playing short-handed for 20 minutes with a yellow in the first half and a red card inside the final quarter.
The home side played a little too fast and loose for the wet and windy conditions, forcing the pass and paying the price with a string of handling errors, some of which were comically bad; full-back Peter Murchie has had better evenings.
The entire match was stop-start with neither side able to hold onto the greasy ball long enough to enjoy any continuity.
Treviso were gritty, physical and determined with an all-enveloping defence that harried and hurried Glasgow backwards. They defended attacking Glasgow lineouts in both halfs of this match with enough gusto to suggest there is little wrong with the spirit of the club
anchored to the bottom of the table.
Peter Horne, enjoying a rare run at stand-off, kicked well from hand but was a little ordinary off the tee, making just four from seven in front of goal and the first effort was a shocker that barely got off the ground. More importantly two long-term
absentee shoulders were put to the wheel for the first time in several months and both Ryans, Grant and Wilson, emerged with credit and bodies intact.
Grant especially made his presence felt against a useful Treviso set scrum where he won a penalty at the first engagement, deserved another at the third but eventually earned three in the first half alone which went some way to giving the home side a small edge in the first 40. He was given a rousing cheer on leaving the pitch late in the final quarter after earning the man of the match award.
Glasgow also took the opportunity to try a few little experiments. Richie Vernon may have been playing with a 13 on his back but it didn’t stop the former breakaway from winning lineout ball for the home team. The forwards even attempted to set up a midfield maul, albeit without much success. Niko Matawalu had one of those typical games where he tried to take on the world and ended up chasing his tail. He made several handling errors and gifted Treviso a couple of turnovers and then popped up with the opening and only try of the match on 20 minutes.
He hadn’t much to do but the score was a length-of-the-field corker that was sparked by Horne and saw Josh Strauss, Ryan Wilson, Leone Nakarawa and Murchie all getting a touch before the little scrum-half dived over the opposition line with typical ebullience.
Horne kicked two penalties which were matched by twin strikes from the boot of Treviso full-back Jayden Hayward, so the teams were separated at half-time by the only try of the match. Treviso were still alive and kicking which was more than could be said of Horne who fluffed another penalty at the start of the second half – a long-range effort to be fair.
At the other end, Hayward made no such mistake, kicking Treviso to within two points with his own 47-metre effort and the crowd were relieved to see him pull a much simpler effort wide.
Inside the final quarter, and in danger of losing this match, Glasgow tightened things up and played more direct rugby, using Strauss and James Downey to get them on the front foot. Twice in quick succession DTH van der Merwe almost got away down the left wing and Nakarawa charged down a clearance kick only to guddle the ball when he went to pick it up.
At least Glasgow had the edge in the scrum and from another set-piece penalty Horne found his range to extend Glasgow’s advantage again and Treviso had a mountain to climb after replacement prop Alfred Anae was shown red for some skulduggery at the bottom of a maul.
Horne kicked his fourth penalty with just minutes left on the clock to take the bonus point away from the visitors which was the least they deserved for all their efforts. There was still time for Zander Fagerson to make his first appearance in front of a home crowd and for Will Bordill to make his Glasgow debut.
Scorers: Glasgow: Try: Matawalu. Pen: Horne (4). Treviso: Pen: Hayward (3).
Glasgow: Murchie, Jones, Vernon, Downey (Braid 70), Van der Merwe; Horne, Matawalu; Grant (Allan 70), MacArthur (Hall 50), De Klerk (Fagerson 70), Ryder (Bordill 75), Nakarawa, Strauss, Fusaro, Wilson
Treviso: Hayward, Ragusi, Campagnaro, Bacchin, Nitoglia; Christie, Lucchese (Ambrosini 60); Zanusso (Anae 55), Giazzon, Manu (Harden 40), Vallejos, Van Zyl, Favaro (Barbini 70), Zanni, Minto.