Glasgow 11 - 14 Edinburgh: Warriors denied at Murrayfield

Edinburgh's Sam Hidalgo-Clyne challenges Mark Bennett during a close contest in the 1872 Cup final. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Edinburgh's Sam Hidalgo-Clyne challenges Mark Bennett during a close contest in the 1872 Cup final. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Same two teams, same venue, same result.

For the second week in succession Edinburgh beat Glasgow and for the second year in succession Alan Solomons’ side have the 1872 Cup in their trophy cabinet. It was the first time Edinburgh have done the double since this back-to-back format was introduced in 2008.

With Scotstoun unplayable, it was all back to BT Murrayfield and there was little to choose between the two teams. Glasgow were more constructive in attack while Edinburgh fought a brave rearguard action, making a eye-watering 147 tackles in all. They trailed for almost the entire 80 only to bounce back with a try from stand-off Phil Burleigh just five minutes from time.

With one try apiece this match was determined by Sam Hidalgo-Clyne’s three penalties to two for Duncan Weir, giving Edinburgh a 14-11 win on the day and a 37-22 aggregate triumph. Twin league wins will do wonders for the capital club’s ambitions of playing European Champions Cup rugby next season.

It was a typical derby, full of sound and fury with little subtlety or skill to speak of. Edinburgh were worth the win if only for the doggedness they showed in refusing to accept the defeat that seemed to be their fate, especially against a furious Glasgow assault in the final five minutes.

The first half saw Glasgow come out the traps like they were in the New Year sprint and they went on to dominate great swathes of this match and only some brave defence kept Edinburgh clinging on to their coat tails.

The set piece was much improved from last weekend with Glasgow’s set scrum winning a penalty at the very first engagement, not that tighthead Zander Fagerson had long to enjoy the moment. At the second scrum Edinburgh squeezed a penalty for themselves after which WP Nel had a word with his young rival and it is safe to assume it wasn’t, “hard lines sonny”.

It was a testy sort of match. Glasgow targeted Edinburgh flanker John Hardie relentlessly, with Chris Fusaro driving him five yards back from one ruck before thumping his head into the turf. Hardie was a little ordinary after last week’s heroics. In the first half, with a two on one, he passed far too early and Dougie Fife was clobbered. In the second half Hardie timed his pass perfectly but got the direction all wrong and it sailed into touch.

Mike Coman and Ryan Wilson squared up in the first half and Hidalgo-Clyne was holding Peter Horne’s shirt five metres from the ball. In fact there was numerous such incidents which blight the game but are evidently invisible to any of the match officials since none of them was picked up.

Glasgow scored the first try of the match just after the half hour, using their big men to good effect. A long series of forward pick and drives, Chris Fusaro, Jonny Gray and Fagerson to the fore, ended with a score for Mark Bennett who squeezed into the left hand corner when Edinburgh simply ran out of bodies.

Glasgow should have had a second just before the break but after reviewing the footage the referee noted some obstruction and there was one if not two knock-ons to be taken into consideration.

Edinburgh bossed the sidelines last week but neither side could secure a regular supply of possession yesterday. Twice in the first half hour Gray got his big mitt on to an Edinburgh arrow perilously close to his own try line. Edinburgh were little better, squandering one early scoring opportunity by over-cooking the throw, although their lineout drive was in good health.

Glasgow enjoyed the majority of the scoring chances, the Warriors went through the phases and went through the gears. The problem was that all too often the multi-phase attacks came to nothing following another one of many handling errors.

It was just as well for Edinburgh’s sake that Glasgow failed to make the most of all their many opportunities because on the odd occasion that Gregor Townsend’s troops did hold on to the ball they looked dangerous. Taqele Naiyaravoro and Sean Lamont both made dents in the Edinburgh defence and both wingers were also asked to add their weight to two attacking lineouts five metres from the Edinburgh line, neither of which could be converted.

Glasgow were nursing a meagre 8-6 lead at half time and the second half was deadly dull, with Glasgow seemingly headed for the victory after a Weir penalty extended their advantage to five points. Then Hidalgo-Clyne got three points back with 12 minutes on the clock before Burleigh ran past Stuart Hogg and Peter Muchie to give Edinburgh the lead with five to play.

Those last few minutes were spent in desperate defence. With Peter Horne injured and the bench empty Glasgow reduced to 14 men but threw everything at Edinburgh. They even eschewed a kick at goal which could have a secure a draw in favour of going for the win only to fall agonisingly short despite hammering long and hard on Edinburgh’s front door.

Scorers: Glasgow: Try: Bennett. Pens: Weir 2.

Edinburgh: Try: Burleigh. Pens: Hidalgo-Clyne 3.

Glasgow: Hogg; Naiyaravoro, Bennett, Horne, Lamont (Jones 53); Weir, Price (Hart 68); Reid (Grant 58), Brown (Mamukashvili 68), Fagerson (Puafisi 53), Peterson, Gray (capt), Wilson, Fusaro (Nakarawa 59), Strauss (Blake 35).

Edinburgh: Cuthbert; Fife, Allen, Scott, Hoyland; Burleigh, Hidalgo-Clyne; Sutherland (Dell 68), Ford (Cochrane 34), Nel (Andress 68), Bresler, B Toolis (A Toolis 58), Coman (capt), Hardie, Du Preez.

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (IRFU).