Every team is entitled to the odd off day, but after a third consecutive loss Glasgow need to rediscover their form fast before their season starts to go off the rails.
The Warriors had more than enough chances to win this game at the Stadio Monigo, and would have drawn if substitute Brandon Thomson’s late penalty been on target, but in the end they left Treviso with only a losing bonus point.
From being well clear at the top of Pro14 Conference A they are now very much back in the dogfight for a play-off place, although their immediate concerns, of course, are the last two rounds of pool games in the Champions Cup.
Most of the frontline players who were rested from this game will be back for next Sunday’s home tie against Cardiff Blues, but whichever individuals play, the collective effort will need to be far more focused.
“In the last couple of weeks we’ve just made silly errors,” Dave Rennie said. “We did a lot of good stuff in the second half, and we built pressure, but it was generally undone by a bit of handling or a poor decision.
“To Benetton’s credit, they worked really hard. There were a couple of times where they looked like they were gone. The big issue for us today was we lost a lot of collisions. We’ve been defending very well, but three tries came from them getting underneath us. Then [in attack] we sometimes had slow ball which allowed them to get bodies in front of us. It has to be a hell of a lot better next week.”
Benetton’s ability should not be underestimated, and in the end they merited the victory – their fourth on the trot in the league – thanks to a spirited defence and an attack which was ruthless when scoring opportunities presented themselves. It was one of many errors by Adam Hastings which set up the position for their first try, but Dean Budd nonetheless had to fight hard before powering his way over the line for the first of his two tries, with Tommaso Allan converting.
Sam Johnson, outstanding on his return from injury, got the Warriors back on terms with the help of a Hastings conversion, cutting back to score off first phase after Ryan Wilson had been held up over the line. Budd’s second try, from a lineout drive, edged the home team back in front, but before the break George Horne scored from a Johnson pass, with Hastings’ conversion giving Glasgow a two-point lead.
It seemed clear that if the Warriors could remain patient and play a controlled game, they had the ability to win, but patience and control were evident by their absence in a second half which began in a fairly organised fashion but became far too error-ridden. Braam Steyn put the hosts back in front with an unconverted try at the end of a sustained attack, and then Hastings and Allan exchanged penalties.
There was a consolation for the visitors about that score, as it came after winger Angelo Esposito had dropped what would have been a scoring pass as referee Joy Neville was playing advantage. But, while just three points adrift at that point rather than five or seven, Glasgow failed to score again. Alex Allan was held up over the line after they again kicked a penalty to touch rather than going for the posts, and then what should have been a scoring pass from Hastings to Niko Matawalu floated well forward.
With two minutes to go the Warriors got another chance with the award of a penalty 30 metres out. This time they rightly chose to go for goal, but Thomson drove his kick wide.