1872 Cup: How Glasgow Warriors overpowered Edinburgh in key URC clash

Glasgow Warriors will take a significant but by no means decisive margin into May’s second and final leg of the 1872 Cup after eventually outmuscling their old rivals 30-17 in this first derby of the season.

Glasgow's Josh McKay (L) scores a try during a United Rugby Championship match between Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby at Scotstoun Stadium, on March 18, 2022, in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Glasgow's Josh McKay (L) scores a try during a United Rugby Championship match between Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby at Scotstoun Stadium, on March 18, 2022, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

Edinburgh were never ahead in the game, but they showed their tenacity by getting back on to level terms on two occasions, once before the break, once just after it. In the end, however, the Warriors had both the ferocity up front and the firepower out wide to clinch the contest, with full-back Josh McKay getting the crucial third try, after which they pulled away.

The win takes Glasgow up to third in the URC, at least until today’s games. Edinburgh remain fifth and are still in the running for a home play-off, but now face a tricky double-header in South Africa against the Sharks and the Lions.

The prowess of the home pack was on display from the opening minutes, and eventually, after they were twice held up on the line, the pressure told, with Tom Gordon burrowing over from a couple of metres out to open the scoring, and Duncan Weir adding the conversion.

Edinburgh had barely been out of their own half up to that point, but they conjured up a riposte within a couple of minutes. First a quarterback sneak from Henry Pyrgos was halted short, but a few phases later Glen Young finished off from close range. Emiliano Boffelli levelled with the conversion.

A ten-minute spell followed in which the teams tested each other with deep kicks, but with almost half an hour on the clock the Warriors regained the lead. A clearance by Jaco van der Walt was fielded on the full by Sebastian Cancelliere, Stafford McDowall joined in the attack, and then with the defence out of position Gordon was able to make it to the line for his second score, again converted by Weir.

Edinburgh’s reply was immediate once more, but this time they had to content themselves with a Boffelli penalty after a timely intervention by McKay had stopped the Pumas international from scoring a try. A four-point lead at the break would have been scant reward for the Warriors’ domination, but a Weir penalty in the closing minute restored their lead to seven.

Both teams made changes at the start of the second half, with Mike Blair bringing Boan Venter and Magnus Bradbury on in a bid to shore up his pack, and Danny Wilson introducing Nathan McBeth to the front row and Sione Tuipulotu to midfield. The Edinburgh eight certainly began the second 40 in more dynamic fashion, and within minutes Venter touched down following a lineout drive. Boffelli’s conversion drew the teams level again.

The visiting side then pressed hard in search of the score that would put them in front for the first time in the game, but after a loose ball was seized on by Cancelliere, the winger made inroads upfield before passing to McKay. The full-back had some 40m to go to the line, but he had the speed to outstrip the defence. Ross Thompson, not long on for Weir, added the two points, then stretched his team’s lead into double figures with a penalty 15 minutes from time. Another three-pointer from the replacement inside the closing 10 minutes produced a final score which was an accurate reflection of his team’s superiority over the piece.

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