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Two Jonny Matthews tries help Glasgow overcome a Zebre scare

By PA
Glasgow's Johnny Matthews (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)

Jonny Matthews scored a pair of tries as Glasgow overcame a scare against bottom-of-the-table Zebre to end their regulation United Rugby Championship campaign with a 38-26 victory at Scotstoun.

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Warriors were already assured of a top-four finish but their bid to go into the play-offs on a high note were in jeopardy for much of the evening as the spirited Italians led until the 66th minute before wilting in the closing stages.

Glasgow had Scotland internationals Richie Gray and Huw Jones back in their starting XV for the first time since they sustained injuries on Six Nations duty.

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The hosts made a strong start and got themselves ahead in the third minute when prop Jamie Bhatti scored off the back of a lineout maul. Veteran stand-off Duncan Weir, on his 150th appearance, added the extras.

Zebre reduced their arrears to just one point, however, with a couple of penalties from Giovanni Montemauri in the 13th and 24th minutes.

Fixture
United Rugby Championship
Glasgow
38 - 26
Full-time
Zebre
All Stats and Data

The hosts stretched their lead in the 32nd minute, however, as hooker Matthews touched down for his 14th try of the season – his 13th in the URC – from another lineout maul. Weir was off target with the conversion.

Zebre finished the first half with a flourish. With 38 minutes on the clock, full-back Jacopo Trulla sent a penalty from just inside his own half soaring between the posts.

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And in the last action of the first half, the Italians got their noses in front with a scintillating try as some excellent play by Trulla and Pierre Bruno created an opening for Montemauri to race clear down the right. Montemauri converted himself to give Zebre a surprise 16-12 lead at the break.

Glasgow regained the initiative two minutes after the break, however, when Rowe applied the finish after some excellent play by Sione Tuipulotu to set him free. Weir was again unable to add the conversion.

But Zebre roared back into the lead in the 50th minute when Bautista Stavile intercepted a Rory Darge pass and darted over, with Montemauri again on point from the tee.

The topsy-turvy nature of the match continued on the hour mark when Sebastian Cancelliere burst in on the right to finish off a lovely flowing Glasgow build-up, with substitute George Horne converting.

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But the visitors went ahead again just two minute later with another excellently-struck penalty from Montemauri.

Glasgow finally managed to seize control in the closing stages, however, with tries from Matthews and substitute Tom Jordan – both converted by Horne – taking the game away from the Italians.

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