GLASGOW did all they could to secure fourth place in Conference A yesterday. Now, provided Edinburgh keep up their side of the bargain this afternoon, the Warriors could yet find themselves in the Champions Cup next season.

The Warriors are five points clear of the Dragons as a result of this bonus-point win at Scotstoun, and their points difference is 44 better too. So unless there is a total collapse by Richard Cockerill’s side at the Principality Stadium, that fourth-place finish will be secure. Tournament organisers EPCR have yet to rule on how many teams from each league will get into next season’s top-tier tournament, but if eight teams from the PRO14 are admitted, the Warriors should be one of them.

With so many players out injured or absent on international duty, this was a patchwork Glasgow side, and it showed in a performance which at times lacked structure. The penalty count was again too high - although at least unlike in their four previous matches the Warriors did not have anyone carded - and a slack spell in the third quarter briefly allowed Benetton back into the contest. 

But while there are several aspects of the game that will need to be tightened up for  Friday night’s Challenge Cup last-16 tie in Montpellier, head coach Danny Wilson rightly found quite a lot to be encouraged by, especially in the wake of last weekend’s second-half collapse against the Dragons.

“To get a bonus-point win and score six tries was a decent enough day,” Wilson said. “I was pleased with the majority. I thought we played with some pace, which is important against Benetton – quick tap penalties, things like that, worked well for us.

HeraldScotland:

READ MORE: Eight things we learned from a Six Nations like no other

“It was good to rack up those points to give Dragons something to do. Hopefully Edinburgh can do us a favour there and keep that score relatively low.”

Wilson should have the majority of his internationals back for the trip to France, but will face some tough decisions in selection, given how well young players such as Ross Thompson have been playing recently. The stand-off scored two penalties and converted four of his team’s tries, with late substitute Ian Keatley converting another.

Those two penalties opened the scoring, and although Benetton hit back with a try by Gianmarco Lucchese, that was their only score of the half as the home team took control. Back-row forward Fotu Lokotui got the Warriors’ first touchdown of the day, and then on the brink of half-time with a Benetton player in the bin for a late hit on George Horne, Nick Grigg got the second.

Starting the second half 20-5 ahead, Glasgow let the winless Italians back into the game through some slack defence, and a Riccardo Favretto try converted by Edoardo Padovani gave the visitors hope of a comeback. A Padovani penalty reduced the deficit to five points, but the Warriors forwards stopped the rot, won a penalty of their own, and after a good burst by Lokotui, Niko Matawalu finished off. 

Horne got the bonus-point try after an excellent break by Thompson, but Benetton were far from finished, and they got their own third through Marco Zanon after some quick thinking by Luca Petrozi. 

Man-of-the-match TJ Ioane scored his team’s fifth as the Italians tired, and although Benetton got their own fourth through Corniel Els, it was Glasgow who had the last word when substitute hooker Johnny Matthews scored try No 6 from the last play of the game.

Scorers
Glasgow: Tries: Lokotui, Grigg, Matawalu, Horne, Ioane, Matthews. Cons: Thompson 4, Keatley. Pens: Thompson 2.

Benetton: Tries: Lucchesi, Favretto, Zanon, Els. Con: Padovani. Pen: Padovani.

Glasgow Warriors: O Smith; R Tagive (N Matawalu 12), N Grigg, R Fergusson, L Jones; R Thompson (I Keatley 75), G Horne (J Lenac 71); A Seiuli (D Evans 44), F Brown (captain) (J Matthews 77), E Pieretto (D Rae 71), R Gray (H Bain 73), J Scott, K McDonald (T Gordon 59), F Lokotui, T Ioane. 

Benetton: E Padovani; R Tavuyara, J Riera (T Benvenuti 14), M Zanon, A Esposito; T Allan (J Hayward 59), L Petrozzi (C Trussardi 70); T Gallo (D Appiah 21, M Riccioni 71), G Lucchesi (C Els 56), M Riccioni (I Nemer 54), N Cannone, F Ruzza (E Snyman 61), A Sgarbi (captain), M Zuliani (N Piantella 41), R Favretto. 

Yellow card: Benetton: Cannone 29.

Referee: F Murphy (Ireland).