Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill has identified the breakdown as the key battleground for Saturday evening’s 1872 Cup decider, claiming earlier this week that Glasgow are “bordering on the illegal most of the time” in that phase of the game.
A message to the referee has been duly sent but Cockerill will primarily be looking for his back row to take the fight to their Glasgow counterparts and hope experienced whistler Nigel Owens does his job.
One man likely to have a key role is 21-year-old flanker Jamie Ritchie and he is bristling with anticipation for the challenge ahead.
“It is a huge part of any game especially against Glasgow because it is something they pride themselves on, they are hard over the ball in defence and as a back row, that is somewhere where you are quite often,” said the Edinburgh man. “For us as a back-row unit, it is a huge challenge and for the team, it is a huge challenge because they are not only strong over the ball in the back row, they have guys like [centre] Alex Dunbar who poses a threat as well.
“It is a huge part of the game but a challenge we are looking forward to taking.”
A former Scotland Under-20 captain who signed senior Edinburgh terms at just 17, Ritchie views Saturday as another opportunity to continue his personal development.
“Possibly in defence it [the breakdown] is one of my strengths, probably a work-on for me in attack,” he said.
“I want to keep getting better at it because it is a hard skill. It is a huge part of everyone’s game.
“Especially in the modern game it is not just forwards who clear the rucks and backs leave them alone, the first guy there needs to deal with it no matter who is over the ball. It is a huge part of the game these days.”