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Late run is a timely bonus

So Glasgow have bought into the bonus culture at last.

The Warriors' 29-10 victory over Treviso on Friday was the first time this season they have scored four tries in a RaboDirect PRO12 game, a stark contrast to their prolific habits in the previous campaign when they were collecting bonus points for fun.

Still, better late than never, and better still at the start of a run of games that should see them secure a PRO12 play-off spot and could see them do it with the precious advantage of a home tie. It is devilishly tight at the top of the table, but Glasgow might just be finding their form at exactly the right moment.

Head coach Gregor Townsend could hardly have wished for better opposition than Treviso to set up his side for the final push. The Italians made Glasgow work for everything, but they lacked firepower and ideas and they were never in with any realistic chance of winning. This was a work-out for the Warriors.

One with a few satisfying cameos as well. Finn Russell moved from being a decent prospect to being a serious performer, and Sean Maitland played perhaps his best game for Glasgow as he returned to the starting side after a lengthy injury absence. Niko Matawalu buzzed about as only he can, while Geoff Cross put in a solid shift after his move along the M8.

But there were flaws, too. The set-piece was rarely convincing and they coughed up a soft try when the Treviso's Alberto Sgarbi shot through their dozing defence. Russell and Matawalu atoned in the last moments with a stunning, two-man, try-saving tackle on Brendan Williams, but better sides than Treviso would have done more damage.

And there are a few of them coming. Over the next three weeks, Glasgow will travel to Limerick to take on Munster, meet Ulster at home and then entertain Edinburgh at Scotstoun in the rescheduled 1872 Cup match.

The Ulster match is now critical. Glasgow are just four points behind the Ravenhill side, and although that gap is likely to widen next weekend - while the Warriors are away to Munster, Ulster have Connacht at home - the situation at the top is much closer than seemed likely even a few weeks ago.

Munster destroyed Toulouse 47-23 yesterday, while Ulster lost out narrowly 15-17 to Saracens.

"I don't know," said Townsend when asked what bearing the European dimension could have. "They both know they have to win their league games as well. They have some tough games left and they have to play each other in the last game of the season. Ulster still have Leinster as well."

Townsend's Glasgow made a rod for their own back with the way they finished the 2012-13 campaign. Yes, they were running riot towards the end, memorably putting 51 points past Munster and 35 past Ospreys, but they had been slow to find their feet and they suffered a nervous wobble mid-season. Yet they are now in exactly the same position they were in at the same point of the last campaign, having won 13 of the 17 games they have played.

Townsend said: "There are a lot more close games. Where teams were losing games last year they're now winning them, so it has been harder.

"Whether you win or lose, whether you have injuries or a great run, it's still a tough job. So it's great when you see players working so hard for each other.

"That try-saving tackle by Finn and Niko is the kind of thing that makes it worthwhile."

o Edinburgh have confirmed that centre Nick De Luca will leave at the end of the season to join Biarritz.

Head coach Alan Solomons said: "Nick has been a great servant of the club over the years and we wish him the very best."

De Luca said: "I would like to thank Edinburgh Rugby for the last eight years."

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