GLASGOW WARRIORS 8
EDINBURGH have retained the 1872 Cup with a game to spare after proving too smart and too solid for Glasgow for the second time in eight days. This game lacked much of the excitement of last week’s 23-7 win for the home team at BT Murrayfield, but in most other respects it was very similar, as Richard Cockerill’s side emulated a winning formula.
The fact that Pierre Schoeman was named man of the match told its own story. The loosehead prop was not only outstanding in the loose, he also played a vital role in Edinburgh’s domination of the scrum. From first to last Glasgow were on the back foot at the set piece, and had Oli Kebble sinbinned in the second half after repeated offences.
Edinburgh were only three points clear at half-time, but stretched that to 13 when Stuart McInally scored the first try of the game. A late rally saw Glasgow narrow the gap through George Horne, but that was not even enough for a losing bonus. The Warriors have thus lost the two league fixtures by a total of eight points to nil, and while they are still on course for a place in the play-offs, Dave Rennie has a job on his hands to prevent the sort of momentum loss that marred their season last time round.
Glasgow v Edinburgh:
Cockerill’s team, on the other hand, are again closing in on the play-off places in Conference B. It could still be an uphill battle given the improved form of Ulster, but after a mediocre start they are finding some form at the right time.
Jaco van der Walt, scorer of 13 points with the boot last week, opened the scoring with a fourth-minute penalty after OIi Kebble had been penalised at the first scrum for a squint engagement. Given their problems at the set piece in the first game, that was an ominous sign for the home side, although they had a clear upper hand in attack throughout the first quarter.
The enterprise shown by the Warriors in the early stages of the game was again in evidence just before the break, but Edinburgh had to be the happier team with the first 40: not only did they have a slight lead, but, more importantly, the game had largely been played on their terms – as was shown by the frustration on display from Glasgow on several occasions. Granted, Glasgow had more of a cutting edge than had been on display at Murrayfield, but the visitors had held firm in defence while looking just as likely to score a try.
Second half changes
Both teams made changes at the break. For Edinburgh, Juan Pablo Socino came on at centre in place of Chris Dean, who looked to have taken a knock. Rennie, meanwhile, made two changes, with Kevin Bryce replacing Grant Stewart at hooker, and DTH van der Merwe taking over from Stuart Hogg, with Tommy Seymour moving to full-back. Hogg had initially required a head-injury assessment but it was soon announced that he would not be back. A further change was needed almost immediately when Alex Dunbar went down with a leg injury, and his replacement was Sam Johnson, who was himself returning from injury to play his first game in two months.
The disruption to the line-ups did nothing initially to enliven a game which had lost its sense of direction, although it was notable that Edinburgh were keeping their shape a lot better. Glasgow suffered another blow after 47 minutes when Oli Kebble was yellow-carded for a repeated scrum offence, and Edinburgh quickly took advantage of the extra man. Bill Mata broke off the back of a scrum but was hauled down a metre short, and then captain Stuart McInally finished the job.
Van der Walt’s conversion took Cockerill’s team 10 points clear, and Glasgow knew they had to do something quickly to get back into the game. George Horne and Rob Harley came on in a bid to shake things up, but before either could make a significant intervention Van der Walt stretched the lead with another penalty from a scrum offence.
There was a glimmer of light for the Warriors when Edinburgh were penalised at the end of a long drive that had seen them go close to what would surely have been the score to put the game beyond their hosts. Keeping Edinburgh at bay was less than half the battle, of course: Glasgow needed a piece of magic at the other end.
They got it in the end, but far too late. A lineout inside the Edinburgh 22 set up the position, and eventually George Horne wriggled his way over. Hastings missed the conversion, however, which left the gap at eight points.
There was still time for another attack which would have produced the losing bonus, but DTH van der Merwe’s pass to Nico went astray and found touch. In truth, a point would have been more than Glasgow deserved at the end of an encounter in which they were second best by some way.
The teams will meet again at the end of the season, again at Scotstoun. The match will be meaningless in terms of the 1872 Cup, and both head coaches will hope it is also irrelevant in terms of league points, with their play-off slots having ideally been secured some time beforehand.
Glasgow Warriors: S Hogg; T Seymour, A Dunbar, P Horne, N Matawalu; A Hastings, A Price; O Kebble, G Stewart, D Rae, T Swinson, J Gray, R Wilson, C Gibbins, M Fagerson. Substitutes: K Bryce, J Bhatti, S Halanukonuka, R Harley, C Fusaro, G Horne, S Johnson, DTH van der Merwe.
Edinburgh: B Kinghorn; D Graham, J Johnstone, C Dean, Duhan van der Merwe; J van der Walt, H Pyrgos; P Schoeman, S McInally, W Nel, B Toolis, G Gilchrist, J Ritchie, H Watson, W Mata. Substitutes: D Cherry, A Dell, S Berghan, C Hunter-Hill, L Crosbie, N Fowles, S Hickey, J Socino.
Scorers: Glasgow: Try: G Horne. Pen: Hastings.
Edinburgh: Try: McInally. Con: Van der Walt. Pens: Van der Walt 3.
Scoring sequence: 0-3, 3-3, 3-6 half-time, 3-11, 3-13, 3-16, 8-16.
Yellow card: Kebble (Glasgow) 47 mins.
Referee: G Clancy (Ireland).