SHADE MUNRO has warned Glasgow that they will face a resurgent Edinburgh in the first leg of the 1872 Cup double-header at Scotstoun on Saturday.
Alan Solomons’ men languish in eighth place in the Guinness Pro12 table, a distant 15 points behind Glasgow, while they have not wrestled the old trophy away from a vice-like grip of the Warriors since the 2008/2009 campaign. Yet, with Edinburgh having had an impressive European Challenge Cup group campaign and scored six tries against Treviso in their previous league outing, Munro is wary of their threat.
The Glasgow assistant coach admitted the Warriors had been surprised by the ambition and intent of Edinburgh’s approach in last season’s Scotstoun encounter, which saw the home side eventually win 37-32, in a gripping affair in which the visitors also played with ferocious determination.
“They may only have won four games in the league but Edinburgh have beaten the two French teams Bordeaux, who are high up in the Top 14, plus Lyon in Europe and London Welsh and just taken 48 points off Treviso in the Pro12 and, from our analysis they are getting a lot better,” said Munro. “Also, as the season has progressed, they are getting much more physical and their defence is much better and they are more aggressive, so we are expecting a really tough challenge.
“The fact they are eighth in the Pro12 is not really a factor. There are good teams all the way down the table, so we certainly won’t be taking anything for granted.
CONNECT WITH THE SCOTSMAN
• Subscribe to our daily newsletter (requires registration) and get the latest news, sport and business headlines delivered to your inbox every morning
“They will be coming to Scotstoun thinking and believing they can beat us, there is no doubt about it and we must be ready for that.”
Munro believes that cool heads rather than passionate hearts will be the key to Glasgow’s continued dominance in the oldest club game of them all. He said: “We want to do what we are good at doing and not let the emotion take over. You could argue that, last year, we got a bit over-emotional and didn’t play the way we should have done, certainly in the first game. When they came here they played in totally the opposite way that they had been doing and totally surprised us, so that was impressive from an Edinburgh point of view.
“But they are in good form right now and Edinburgh have started the ball rolling already by winning the A game and they enjoyed that.”
Munro said that the 1872 Cup still has unique appeal to both players and coaching staff alike at either end of the M8.
He said: “I think it will always have that extra edge, it certainly will for me, the Edinburgh derby is just a massive game. But with the bragging rights it is huge amongst the players too, so even if we [coaching staff] do think it’s big the players certainly do.
“Years ago it was ‘we have got to finish above Edinburgh, got to finish above the Borders’ – it was that Scottish thing as we weren’t realistically anywhere near the top four – but I certainly wouldn’t say it’s diminished in any way.
“Maybe it is a bit different now in that we are chasing the top four but everyone at Glasgow really looks forward to these games and I know it is the same at Edinburgh.
“The edge is that you are playing against team-mates from a Scotland perspective and you are just desperate to come out on top because there are only the two Scottish teams and there is the derby element. So it’s massive whatever way you look at it.”
Glasgow warmed up for the annual battle for domestic supremacy with a hard-fought 21-18 success over Munster .
“We beat Munster and in our quest to finish top four, or even top two, we had to win it,” said Munro. “We had also lost our previous two games so there was a real onus on us to produce a response to these defeats.
“We didn’t start very well but we got it sorted at the break and in the second half there was an awful lot more intensity about our work.
“It wasn’t a particularly spectacular game but from our point of view the victory was everything and we got that.
“Years ago we used to target certain games but now every game has that certain importance about it.
“The way the table is so congested we just can ’t afford to slip up or we will drop back down to the middle, that’s the bottom line.”
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND IPHONE APPS