Zebre 7 - 31 Glasgow: Warriors earn their stripes in Italy

Fraser Brown looks for a way past or through Zebre's Giosue Zilocchi and Giovanni Licata at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi.  Photograph: Luca Sighinolfi/INPHO/Shutterstock
Fraser Brown looks for a way past or through Zebre's Giosue Zilocchi and Giovanni Licata at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi. Photograph: Luca Sighinolfi/INPHO/Shutterstock
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Glasgow may not have quite had their own way in this game as much as they did in their 50-0 home win over the Southern Kings a week earlier, but this was nonetheless a solid and significant league win to take into their Champions Cup campaign. The conditions in Parma were far less conducive to running rugby than they had been at Scotstoun, but Dave Rennie’s team played some pretty appealing stuff, wrapping up the try bonus with more than half an hour to spare.

The Warriors dropped their tempo for a time in the second half, when Zebre defiantly responded to the sending-off of forward Johan Meyer for a dangerous clear-out of Scott Cummings at a ruck, but it was no more than a temporary lapse. They finished by far the stronger, with the return of Scotland World Cup stars such as Ryan Wilson and Fraser Brown bringing valuable heft to their play. Add the ingenuity of double try-scorer George Horne and it was a useful 80 minutes all round, giving them a third win in six league games.

It was Horne who opened the scoring from a tap penalty from just a few metres out as the Zebre defence were caught napping. The Italians also lost blindside Giovanni Licata for the offence on the scrum-half that produced the penalty, and Adam Hastings rubbed in the loss by converting. While Licata was still sidelined, Horne scored his second try, from first phase off a lineout after Fraser Brown’s initial burst was carried on by Ratu Tagive.

The winger had a bit part in the third try when Hastings used him as a decoy to slice through the defence, and the stand-off’s second successful conversion made it 19-0 at the break. Oli Kebble did not emerge for the second half, but the substitution appeared only precautionary after he had taken a slight knock.

The aim in the early stages of the second half was to score the fourth try that would both secure a bonus point and finally extinguish any lingering Zebre hopes of a recovery. It came through Tagive when, after a commanding close-quarters drive from the forwards, Hastings put him through for an unconverted score.

Zebre then suffered another setback when they lost Meyer, but they responded to going a man down with their best passage of play in the contest, scoring through substitute Pierre Bruno off the back of a maul after a penalty had been sent to touch. Carlo Canna converted, and for a time after that score the Warriors lost their way. They too had been guilty of indiscipline at times, and were punished for it when replacement hooker George Turner was yellow-carded for an off-the-ball tackle.

Even so, it was Glasgow who finished the stronger, and they wrapped up the victory when, after Tommy Seymour had hacked on a loose ball, Nick Frisby gathered a couple of metres out and touched down.