Benetton try scorer Gianmarco Lucchesi
Gianmarco Lucchesi scored Benetton’s second try
Benetton: (13) 33
Tries: Padovani, Lucchesi, Mendy 2 Cons: Smith 2 Penalties: Smith 3
Glasgow Warriors: (6) 11
Try: Z Fagerson Penalties: Horne 2

Glasgow Warriors kicked off the United Rugby Championship season – and Franco Smith’s reign as head coach – with a dismal four-try loss away to Benetton.

The South African took over at Scotstoun after a poor finish to last season under Danny Wilson.

But early tries from Edoardo Padovani and Gianmarco Lucchesi had Smith’s side on the back foot once more in the country he led as national head coach.

Ignacio Mendy added two more either side of Zander Fagerson’s reply.

Smith marked his first competitive game in charge by handing a professional debut at fly-half to Auckland-born Tom Jordan, a stand-out in the domestic Super6 competition with the Ayrshire Bulls, following injuries to Ross Thompson and Domingo Miotti.

Lucio Sordoni and Sintu Manjezi also pulled on Glasgow jerseys for the first time in the forward pack, with new captain Kyle Steyn on the left wing.

However, the writing looked on the wall from the time Rhyno Smith kicked the first points of the URC season from in front of the posts after only 13 minutes.

George Horne replied within three minutes, but that failed to settle the visitors and they were behind again when Giacomo da Re found Padovani with a long pass out wide for the full-back to touch down with ease.

Lucchesi was next across behind the maul as Benetton’s forwards pushed back the visitors too easily towards their own line.

A Horne penalty meant Warriors were still only seven points behind at the break, but Mendy weaved through the static visiting defence immediately after the restart.

With Smith adding the conversion and two penalties soon after, Glasgow were looking a ragged and spent force.

Only a contentious knock-on decision denied Benetton a bonus-point try before substitute prop Fagerson powered over after the first bit of flowing passing play from the visitors.

The bonus point was only delayed until the closing seconds as Mendy intercepted to break clear for his second try, with Smith adding the easy extras.

Glasgow Warriors head coach Franco Smith: “Obviously, we’re a little under cooked. There were lots of unforced errors and old habits in the first half.

“It’s unfortunate that we didn’t play our first two warm-up games. Disappointed in the result – I think we’re a much better team than that. Benetton are well coached, they played well.

“We’ve plenty plenty to work on. I’m still getting to know the players’ characters. It’s one thing coaching them a new style of rugby, it’s another thing to get into their heads.”

Benetton Treviso: Smith, Padovani, Brex, Riera, Mendy, Da Re, Duvenage, Nemer, Lucchesi, Ferrari, Scrafton, Ruzza, Pettinelli, Zuliani, L Cannone.

Replacements: Nicotera, Zani, Pasquali, N Cannone, Lamaro, Hidalgo-Clyne, Zanon, Bellini.

Glasgow Warriors: Forbes, Cancelliere, Tuipulotu, McDowall, Steyn, Jordan, G Horne, Bhatti, F Brown, Sordoni, Bean, Gray, Manjezi, M Fagerson, Dempsey.

Replacements: Matthews, Kebble, Z Fagerson, Cummings, Darge, Gordon, Price, Weir.

Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU).

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here