Gregor Townsend praises departing Warriors as Glasgow go top

Leone Nakarawa takes centre stage in the post-match celebrations
Hat-trick hero Nakarawa takes centre stage in the post-match celebrations

Head coach Gregor Townsend hailed his departing stars as Glasgow Warriors romped to the top of the Pro12.

Leone Nakarawa scored a hat-trick, while Glenn Bryce got two tries in a 70-10 win over Zebre at Scotstoun

Taqele Naiyaravoro and Duncan Weir, who are also moving on, touched down, while prop Jerry Yanuyanutawa was dominant.

"I was really pleased with some individuals, especially those who are leaving the club," said Townsend. "They put in huge performances."

Adam Ashe, Greg Peterson and Ali Price were the other try-scorers in a one-sided contest.

"It wasn't perfect," added Townsend. "The first half was a bit loose and we were all a bit disappointed with the way we defended but the second half was much better.

"We played really positive rugby and we found some space."

Play-off feat 'tremendous'

Nakarawa, who is leaving to join an as yet unnamed club in France, was in unstoppable mood, while fellow Fijian Yanuyanutawa was all over the pitch.

On Nakarawa, who has been at the Warriors since 2013, Townsend said: "He's shown this year what the club means to him.

"The way he played in the second half against Leinster, when he was captain, and the way he played tonight - outstanding.

"It's been great having him here and we've still got a few games that he's going to be involved in."

Glenn Bryce finished off two excellent first-half scores
Bryce caught the eye with two excellent first-half scores

Glasgow, who have now won nine matches in a row, travel to Connacht for the final round of league matches next week knowing a draw would be enough to secure a home semi-final, following a shock loss for the Galway side away to Treviso.

"They rested a lot of players, so it will be a different team that we face," Townsend said.

"They have an excellent record at home and it will be a fantastic game to watch. They play open rugby, even more open than we do.

"They are well-coached, well organised, with a good set piece.

"We'll have to play really well to win but we have built up some momentum and we believe we can go there and do it.

"I'm really pleased we are in the play-off for the fifth year in a row. That doesn't happen by luck, it happens with hard work on a daily basis by the players and the staff.

"It's tremendous for Scottish rugby that this team has been able to achieve that."

Duncan Weir celebrates the 10th try of the night for Glasgow
Weir celebrates the 10th try of the night for Glasgow

Weir, who will join full-back Bryce at Edinburgh in the summer, scored the last of Glasgow's tries and converted all 10.

The stand-off said it had been a "special night" following a huge ovation when he was withdrawn late in the game.

"Being a Glasgow boy and being here for six years, it was awesome to be a part of a small legacy at a terrific club," he said.

"I'm really proud to say that I've played here.

"My first season here, we finished second bottom, now we believe we can take on the best in the world.

"There has been a shift in mindset and then there is the attention to detail. I don't think any other team prepares as well as we do."

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