Glasgow Warriors chalk up easy win over Benetton with six-try display to avenge opening day of season

Glasgow Warriors ended the first block of URC games on a high on Friday night with an easy 37-0 win over Benetton. The Italian team had beaten the Warriors in the first game of the league season in Treviso, but it was clear from the outset that there would be no chance of a repeat.
Glasgow Warriors' Sione Vailanu scores the fifth try of the match during the 37-0 win over Benetton at Scotstoun.Glasgow Warriors' Sione Vailanu scores the fifth try of the match during the 37-0 win over Benetton at Scotstoun.
Glasgow Warriors' Sione Vailanu scores the fifth try of the match during the 37-0 win over Benetton at Scotstoun.

Franco Smith’s side scored six tries in all – three in either half – and once they got in front their lead never looked in danger of being relinquished. “Obviously I’m very happy with the win,” the head coach said. “I think the fact we didn’t allow them to score any points is more important than the number of points they scored.”

After a quiet beginning, the game burst into life with ten minutes played when Sione Vailanu broke clear from a midfield breakdown. With the defence closing in and Jamie Dobie up in support, the Tongan – making his home debut – sold an outrageous dummy then raced the rest of the way to the line before dotting down. Domingo Miotti missed the conversion attempt.

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Having seen their adventurous approach rewarded with that try, the Warriors kept up a high-tempo attacking game in search of further dividends. Midway through the half they were just denied a second try when Sebastian Cancelliere was beaten to a ball in goal after Miotti had kicked through.

Then a penalty to touch around ten metres out promised to produce something, but a squint throw ended the opportunity. When they were awarded another penalty right in front of the Benetton posts, however, Glasgow rightly opted to go for the points, and Miotti duly opened his account.

After some Benetton pressure was stoutly resisted, the stand-off made his team’s second try just before the break with a kick over the top. Captain Kyle Steyn collected, drew last man Rhyno Smith, and passed to Cancelliere, who ran in unopposed. A TMO replay then showed that Smith had tackled Steyn late and high, so referee Craig Evans sent the pugnacious pachyderm packing for a ten-minute spell in the sinbin.

Play resumed with Miotti’s conversion, and there was just time before the break for another Warriors score. An electric break by Josh McKay sliced through the defence, and Stafford McDowall got up in support to finish off. That made it 20-0, and Miotti chipped in with another two points with the last kick of the half.

The first significant action of the second half saw replacement hooker Thomas Gallo sent to the sinbin for a professional foul just after his team-mate Smith returned. The penalty went to touch, and this time the maul made no mistake, with Fraser Brown touching down for the bonus point. Miotti was off target again with the conversion attempt.

Euan Ferrie came off the bench to join starting lock Alex Samuel in making his debut, and the pack soon produced the fifth try of the night from another lineout maul, with Vailanu finishing off.

Miotti thought he had scored his team’s sixth, but it was chalked off for a forward pass in the build-up. Then Rufus McLean did get try No 6, eventually grounding a loose ball after the Benetton defence failed to mop up properly. Miotti’s conversion attempt came back off the post this time. It was just as well for the visitors that he had an off night with the boot, or an already embarrassing scoreline would have become worse.