In cold conditions and with the first use of a handy west wind, the home side scored exactly three points throughout the first three quarters of this match; half the number their less than illustrious opposition managed.
It wasn’t until the 72nd minute that Glasgow eventually edged into the lead with the first, and the last, try of this miserable match.
I don’t think anyone passed Taqele Naiyaravoro the ball until the 33rd minute and even then it was more by accident than design. I don’t know if the Fijian winger was dreaming of Super Rugby in Sydney but I know I was.
At least Glasgow tried to play some rugby even if it wasn’t always super successful. At one point in the second half Alex Dunbar threw a pass to the ground and Finn Russell scooped it up expertly and threw a pass into touch. On the odd occasion when Glasgow set up camp inside the opposition red zone someone would inevitably spill the ball or concede a cheap penalty to give the Italians an easy out.
The visitors came with one, and only one, tactic. When Treviso were not engaged in driving Glasgow back in a maul they were attempting to bully Glasgow by driving them back in a set scrum. You get the drift.
At times in this game the Italians ran through a dozen or more phases but they never went anywhere other than sideways. Crab...crab...kick. Crab...crab...kick and all this was done in super slow motion, 33rpm in a sport that should be played at 45rpm. Sneeze once and you’ll miss the video highlights.
Glasgow roused themselves just before the break with a period of sustained pressure in the Treviso 22 only for Russell to throw an interception pass to his opposite number Jayden Hayward, who raced upfield only to miss a sitter of a penalty with the last play of the half. The same man fluffed another easy opportunity ten minutes into the second half.
Things improved after the break, at least for Treviso, after a spilled pass by Glasgow and a break by Hayward put the visitors on the front foot again.
The Glasgow players were clearly under instruction to be a little more direct in their running but then the rain came down and the wind picked up, which only made Glasgow’s handling game even more of a lottery. One scrum was uncontested when replacement prop Manu Silesi retired hurt, only for the Italians to rustle up a replacement for the replacement from somewhere.
Inside the final ten minutes the Glasgow forwards eventually powered their way through a tiring Treviso simply by running straight and holding on to possession. Once there they earned a series of five-metre scrums and at the third of them Adam Ashe barrelled his way over the Treviso try line. Duncan Weir kicked the conversion and added a late penalty to give his team the win they scarcely deserved.
“I was very pleased we got the win, we just couldn’t seem to get ball in that first half,” said Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend, who pointed out it was only his side’s second game with everyone available post-World Cup. “In the second half the weather got a bit worse. It was very tough to score points and tries but we created enough pressure.”
Glasgow face Leinster next weekend; heaven help them if they play like this.
SCORERS: GLASGOW: Try: Ashe, Con: Weir. Pens: Russell, Weir. TREVISO: Pens: Hayward 2.