Glasgow Warriors fix concentration to earn bonus point

Stuart Hogg played a big role in the turnaround. Picture: SNS
Stuart Hogg played a big role in the turnaround. Picture: SNS
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Back in the play-off zone with a game still in hand, you would expect the Glasgow Warriors coaches and players to be purring with happiness after their six-try demolition of enthusiastic but limited opposition. No so. If anything, they were more concerned with their misfiring first half than a their much improved second.

Even man of the match Stuart Hogg, the full-back whose pyrotechnics in the third quarter ignited his team and set them on their way to the bonus point win which
 lifts them to fourth in the Guinness Pro12, accepted that the changing room row they got at the break was merited.

“We’ll take six tries but it was not perfect and we got a bit of a rollicking at half time, which was deserved,” he said. “In the second half we came out and showed exactly what we can do by scoring in the first couple of minutes. The key was to hold on to the ball as long as we could and eventually the defence would crack or give away a penalty. That is how we get points on the board.”

Hogg himself perfectly encapsulated the difference in the team before and after the break. The first half he was bustling around the pitch with his trademark snipes and sense of adventure but not a lot was going right. Even when he did find gaps and go through them, the support was just a few feet too far away to reap the reward.

Then came the break. Glasgow came out, won the ball, kept it through phase after phase until Hogg cut back against the traffic, found a few inches of space and, most importantly, found Simone Favaro, the flanker, perfectly positioned for the scoring offload.

Suddenly, the game that has looked so tough for 40 minutes looked easy. Apart from kick-offs and the odd penalty, Treviso were never back in the Glasgow half and rarely out of their 22.

The bonus point came just short of the hour mark from another piece of Hogg brilliance, as he outflanked the defence and just managed to stay inside the touchline. Two more tries from Grayson Hart and James Malcolm late in the game, as the replacements flooded on for both sides, just underlined their superiority.

“At times it did not go right, and against other opposition we might not get away with it, we need that performance from the first whistle,” Hogg warned. “We have not seen much of Zebre [who they play on Friday] but we know we will have to be on top of our game. We know that if we play well, it all works for us. It is all about winning, getting points on the board and defending our title.

“This is what everyone wants, a firm surface, a dry ball.

“I always like coming to Treviso. It is a good pitch and they have a good, passionate crowd. We will take that, bank the victory and start concentrating on Zebre.”

Jonny Gray, after a line-out maul, and Peter Horne, after a tap penalty and break from Henry Pyrgos, the scrum-half, got them under way in the first half but it was the Italians who led at the interval with Jayden Hayward kicking three penalties and converting a try from winger Angelo Esposito as Glasgow balanced their moments of good attacking rugby with lapses in concentration.

For all that, a win on Friday would see them overtake the Scarlets and get themselves into the middle of the battle with Connacht and Leinster for the top two places.