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Benetton inflict heavy defeat on Glasgow in Rainbow Cup opener

By PA
(Photo by Getty Images)

Glasgow suffered a heavy defeat to Benetton in their opening match of the Rainbow Cup, beaten 46-19 by a team who failed to win a single match in the regular Guinness PRO14 season. The Italians built on a pair of encouraging displays in the European Challenge Cup by totally dominating the first half as a Monty Ioane try and two from Niccolo Cannone steered them to a 21-0 lead at the interval.

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Glasgow were wasteful and had a Cole Forbes try disallowed around the hour mark following a successful captain’s challenge – one of the new laws introduced for this competition. Toa Halafihi and Michele Lamaro went over before Forbes finally got the visitors on the board after running the length of the pitch following a goal-line dropout.

Gianmarco Lucchesi got the home side’s sixth try of the afternoon before Ian Keatley and Nick Grigg crossed for consolations. Danny Wilson’s men must now lift themselves ahead of home and away fixtures against Edinburgh, while Benetton face a pair of derby clashes of their own against Zebre.

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Glasgow applied the pressure from kick-off but a loose Sam Johnson grubber kick was pounced on by Marco Zanon, who darted down the left flank before offloading inside to Ioane. The Italy winger fended off the challenge of Forbes to touch down under the posts before Cannone showed tremendous footwork for a second-row when he evaded George Horne’s attempted tackle to stretch the Benetton advantage.

Paolo Garbisi converted both early tries to give the hosts a 14-0 lead after only six minutes. Cannone then found the gap once again to charge for the line, surviving a captain’s challenge after Glasgow felt Zander Fagerson had been held back in the build-up.

Garbisi added the extras before Halafihi forced a penalty with the clock in the red to send Benetton in at the break with a 21-0 lead despite some late pressure from Glasgow. Keatley, who swapped Benetton for Glasgow in January, was brought on for Ross Thompson 10 minutes into the second half, but it was home fly-half Garbisi who was next to add to the scoreboard, extending the advantage by a further three points from the tee.

Even when Glasgow did finally touch down through Forbes as the match approached the hour, the score was eventually chalked off after Benetton successfully challenged for a high tackle by Johnson on former Warrior Leonardo Sarto. A clever line-out move saw Halafihi go over for the bonus point soon after and Lamaro then put the result beyond any doubt, with Garbisi converting both before Forbes’ try and Keatley’s two-point kick.

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Lucchesi then touched down from a Benetton maul and, although Keatley and Grigg added two more tries for the Warriors, the damage had already been done, and Edoardo Padovani – on for the sin-binned Garbisi – rounded off a pleasing afternoon for Benetton from the tee.

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Jon 9 hours ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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