Edinburgh Rugby v Glasgow Warriors: Henry Pyrgos wary of wounded opponents

Having experienced the inter-city derby on both sides of the divide Henry Pyrgos is well qualified to assess the teams’ respective merits going into this weekend’s fixture.

Edinburgh scrum-half Henry Pyrgos began his pro career in Scotland with Glasgow Warriors. Picture: Ross Parker / SNS

The Edinburgh scrum-half was a key member of the Glasgow Warriors side that won the Guinness Pro12 in 2015 before making the switch along the M8 three years later.

As a new year begins, the two Scottish pro teams find themselves at the wrong end of their respective tables in this season’s Pro14, with just two wins apiece. Saturday’s cross-conference clash at BT Murrayfield has the whiff of a dogfight about it, with only the Italian sides Benetton and Zebre beneath Edinburgh and Glasgow in the standings.

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The capital side can take heart from an excellent Champions Cup win over Sale in their last outing but Glasgow have been left to stew since a 42-0 hammering at the hands of European champions Exeter back on 13 December.

The Warriors have been inactive due to Covid, but Pyrgos is old enough and wise enough not to read too much into Glasgow’s troubled season.

“Results haven’t gone well for them but they have a lot of dangerous individuals, so we prepare like we would any other week,” said the 31-year-old. “We know the individuals slightly better so we know the threat that’s there.

“We're going to have to really be on it, especially attacking wise where they have a lot of good dangerous players. If we let them get into their game it could be a tough night. We really respect what they do.

“You want to keep that momentum going but you start from scratch every week, especially in a derby game. You see in every sport all around the world that form doesn’t really come into it when it comes to derby games.”

Murrayfield will be empty once more and Pyrgos has nothing but sympathy for supporters denied the chance to watch what has become a festive staple of the Scottish sporting calendar.

“It’s been a really strange time and it’s a real shame the fans haven’t been able to be engaged in stadiums, but we know this is still a massive derby,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to have been on both sides so I know they both want to go out and play for the fans and get the result. It’s a big game for them and for ourselves.”

Pyrgos last played for Scotland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup but the 28-times capped scrum-half is attuned to the difficulties caused this season by the extended autumn international window which deprived both sides of a slew of international players and he is braced for a similar situation during the Six Nations.

“With a lot of our squad going away to play with Scotland it’s hard but it creates a real resolve in the group,” he said. “It’s a huge opportunity, and although we haven’t got the results we wanted there have been some really good performances, especially from guys getting opportunities.

“It’s an area that’s going to be a challenge after January, but when it does come around it’s a big opportunity and as an individual player it doesn’t dishearten me at all when players leave – you want your teammates to go and play for their country.”

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