Glasgow edge out Zebre
September 28, 2012
Glasgow's Graeme Morrison dives over to score at Firhill Stadium
© PA Photos
Glasgow made it three RaboDirect PRO12 wins in-a-row with a 22-19 victory over Zebre at Firhill Stadium on Friday night.
An experimental Glasgow line-up featuring a host of debutants were pushed all the way against a battling Zebre who got a deserved first bonus point for a spirited performance throughout, but in the end the home side did just enough to earn the victory.
In a high-scoring first half, Zebre took a shock 13-0 lead that they extended to 16-7 as half-time approached. However, Glasgow scored two quick tries to go in 19-16 ahead.
A tense second half saw the scores soon tied and for all their pressure Glasgow could not get the fourth try and had to settle for a penalty from substitute Peter Horne in the 73rd minute to seal a narrow win.
Glasgow scored their three tries through Tim Swinson, DTH Van Der Merwe and Graeme Morrison, with Ruaridh Jackson converting two. Zebre's points came from a try by Luciano Orquero, who also kicked the conversion and three penalties while Gonzalo Garcia kicked the other penalty.
With a host of new players at the club, and a big match at Cardiff to come next week, Townsend made 13 changes to his starting line-up, with another three fresh faces waiting on the bench.
Poor game management on a sodden night meant that when Glasgow's first possession was moved along their twenty-two it was inevitably dropped. A penalty for Zebre was converted by Orquera, and that was soon followed by a long-range effort from Garcia as the visitors forged into an early lead.
Things got worse for Glasgow when the ball was dropped allowing Leonardo Sarto to hare up the wing, and from the ruck Orquera sold a lovely dummy to touch down under the bar and convert. Glasgow pulled back to within seven points after the greasy ball was finally put in the air to be spilled for Swinson to touchdown with Jackson converting.
Filippo Cristiano and Mauro Bergamasco were sent to the sin-bin within five minutes but Glasgow allowed a second Orquero penalty while Zebre were short-handed. However as the half closed, Van Der Merwe dived over in the corner following a massive scrum and the half closed with Morrison touching down. With Jackson converting the second. Glasgow went in at the break with a 19-16 lead.
Resilient Zebre tied the scores in the 45th minute with Orquero's third penalty. Glasgow then piled on pressure but lacking guile against Zebre's resilience they made nothing of it. Finally Jackson - on another unhappy night - missed a decent penalty chance. Finally his nerveless replacement Horne struck one home in the 73rd minute.
Van Der Merwe was injured in creating Morrison's try which allowed young Scotland cap Stuart Hogg to take the field for the first time this season following an ankle operation. But it was a bad night for Glasgow in terms of injuries, with international prop Moray Low stretchered off in the second half with a bad leg injury.
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