AS Glasgow Warriors embark on another exercise in playing for pride in Europe, their Guinness PRO14 campaign sailed serenely on when they overcame a deficit in possession and territory to claim their ninth scoring bonus point and 12th win of the season.

But this was not easy. Zebre played most of the rugby as their offloading game and strong runners often had Glasgow on the back foot; when it came to strike plays, though, there was only one team in it.

Glasgow had the ability to convert breaks; Zebre struggled in the same department. That, in short, was the difference between the sides.
They don’t get the same leeway in Europe, which is partly why Glasgow are winless in the Champions Cup while winning all but one game in the 
Guinness PRO14, collecting 58 points from a possible 65.

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The result is that should they win their next PRO14 match, away at the Dragons, and other results go the right way, they could cement their end-of-season play off place with a third of the games still to go.

It tells you everything you need to know about the Glasgow season that head coach Dave Rennie had no qualms about playing the likes of Finn Russell and Jonny Gray in this game, against a team that have never beaten his troops, but he admitted afterwards that he intends to rest them next week against Leinster.

It may not be quite the blow it seems. He is building good strength in depth, with players able to slot in to a variety of roles without it really hurting the overall performance.

The latest to achieve that has been George Horne who has had only four starts, plus a total of eight runs from the bench from the end of last season, and yet has already picked up seven tries and two man-of-the-match awards.

“I feel more settled every game,” he said. “I know there is a lot to work on, decision-making in particular – there is a lot to work on there.

“I am enjoying my rugby at the moment and every game I play, I feel a lot more comfortable. I just have to run those support lines and then it if comes it is easy.”

The try scoring is really a case of getting himself in the right place at the right times, his latest a case in point. Adam Ashe, back from injury to replace concussion victim Chris Fusaro early on, made the initial break before an intelligent change of direction and his speed put Horne over the line.

It was the score that had ensured the Glasgow Warriors bonus point after two forward drives had collected two scores – one a penalty try the other grounded by Matt Fagerson – and Horne had laid on the other for Lee Jones, the winger.

“Credit to Zebre, they play an exciting brand of rugby and really brought it to us but we dug deep to get five points,” said Horne. “It was not the prettiest but it was good to get the result.

“When we built phases, we looked dangerous. We have good strike runners who will get us on the front foot. The thing at the moment is that we need to hold on to the ball better and not switch off after we score a try. When we kept hold of the ball, we looked good.

“We always like to play with tempo. It is something we have noticed against Zebre, if we keep them going for a long period of time, it can hurt them. We tried to keep the tempo high and have 
a lot of phases in play.”

Zebre came into the game even more in the second half with forwards Maxime Mbanda and Tommaso D’Apice being driven over from short range to add to the first half score for Renato Giammarioli, the No.8 after a flowing move.

What Glasgow had was the ability to score without needing long periods of pressure to create the opening. A huge miss pass from Huw Jones put Ruaridh Jackson into space and he fed Lee Jones for his second try that made sure the Scots were never seriously threatened.

Then Huw Jones again did the clever thing as he tapped the awkwardly bouncing ball to Nick Grigg, his fellow centre, for the try that ended the scoring. Both were breakout scores but when the finishing is of that class, that’s all you need,

Inevitably statistics on things like territory and possession, number 
of tackles put in and all the rest, don’t really matter when you have the ability to strike without needing to build pressure. Glasgow can manage that in the PRO14; the next step is to learn how to do it in Europe.