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Glasgow 54 Zebre 0: The day it rained down points as Warriors rout hapless Zebre

A one-sided game in more than the obvious sense.

Stuart Hogg provides a theatrical touchdown with Glasgow's fourth try of the match against the abject Italians Photograph: SNS
Stuart Hogg provides a theatrical touchdown with Glasgow's fourth try of the match against the abject Italians Photograph: SNS

It was not just the fact that Glasgow won by such a comfortable margin, but also the pattern of scoring that saw them demolish Zebre in a first half in which they put on exactly a point a minute, but then eased off in the second when they added just 14 more.

The weather, which deteriorated badly late in the first period, played a part, but the Warriors could be forgiven for easing off as well. They had achieved virtually all they needed in the first few minutes, so with semi-final places to be grabbed it would be understandable if their players were reluctant to take risks.

The scale of the mis-match was preposterous. Glasgow had a try on the board within the first minute, four within the opening quarter and six by half time. Their four-try bonus was timed at 18min 36 sec, the fastest by any team this season and within a minute of the all-time record. Their interval total, 40 points, was higher than any score they have registered in a full 80 minutes this season.

It was possible to feel sorry for Zebre, but there is only so much sympathy you can muster for a team who consider tackling an optional extra. The Italians were truly execrable in that regard, and Glasgow's runners have surely never found it so easy to waft past a first man as they did last night. Come to think of it, the second and third men in the Zebre defence were not exactly resolute either.

All of which lent an air of something dangerously like slapstick to the affair. As the Glasgow fans guffawed in the early evening sunshine, Zebre's only hope was that the forecast of rain would come good. The downpour duly arrived just before half time, but even then the supporters who stayed in the uncovered stands showed more obvious fortitude than the hapless Zebre players.

Still, the opening of the heavens did allow Zebre to shut up shop for the duration of the third quarter, at least as far as the scoreboard was concerned.

In actual fact, Glasgow's failure to add to their tally in that time probably owed as much to the disruptive effect of the arrival of a raft of substitutes and an understandable over-eagerness that, combined with a ball that had acquired the handling characteristics of a wet haddock, meant that a succession of moves fell victim to knock-ons.

Geoff Cross finally broke the deadlock when he burrowed over for a try in the 66th minute after a line-out in the left corner. Ten minutes later, Niko Matawalu provided a typical score, grabbing the ball behind a ruck on the 22 and racing in between the posts with a hand being laid on him.

Earlier, it had been Stuart Hogg who had been first to get his name on the scoresheet, racing down the left touchline after Sean Lamont, back in the side for the first time since January, had made ground on the other side of the pitch. A few minutes later, prop Ryan Grant added the second, barrelling through after a sublime off-load by Leone Nakarawa.

Al Kellock then added the third in the 15th minute, one of the season's stranger tries. It came from a line-out in the right corner, where Kellock gathered, dummied a pass, and then virtually walked backwards over the line.

Referee Alain Rolland called for video adjudication, but the suspicion was that it was because he could scarcely believe his own eyes rather through a need to trust anyone else's.

Hogg claimed the bonus point with his second try, then Alex Dunbar, another returning from injury, added the fifth a few minutes later. The sixth was another hilarious effort, for Hogg lost the race to his own kick-ahead, beaten to the touchdown by Matawalu. Denied his hat-trick, the look on Hogg's face was as thunderous as the weather was about to come.

At the end, Zebre did not even have the consolation of a place in next season's European Champions Cup, for the first news that greeted them when they reached the dressing room was that Treviso had grabbed Italy's place with the bonus point they claimed in losing to the Dragons in Newport.

Glasgow Warriors: S Hogg (P Murchie, 40); S Lamont, A Dunbar, P Horne, N Matawalu; D Weir (R Jackson, 66), H Pyrgos (L Jones, 60); R Grant (J Yanuyanutawa, 50), P MacArthur (D Hall, 56), M Low (G Cross, 56), T Swinson (R Harley, 64), A Kellock (capt), J Eddie, C Fusaro (T Holmes, 50), L Nakarawa.

Zebre: D Odiete (A Chillon, 40); G Toniolatti, G Garcia, G Venditti, D Berryman; T Iannone, G Palazzani; S Perugini (M Aguero, 40), D Giazzon (T D'Apice, 40), D Chistolini (D Ryan, 36), Q Geldenhuys, M Bortolami (G Biagi, 40), M Bergamasco, A Van Schalwyk (F Cristiano, 23), S Vunisa.

Referee: A Rolland (Ireland)

Attendance: 5950

Contextual targeting label: 
Football

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