Young prop Rory Sutherland has warned Glasgow’s much-changed pack to expect more pain from Edinburgh’s bullish forwards when they meet again at BT Murrayfield tomorrow.
Edinburgh’s pack comprehensively bossed the battle up front at the same venue last Sunday as they won the first 1872 Cup clash 23-11 and take a 12-point lead in their bid to defend the trophy, with the added advantage of playing at Murrayfield again after the second leg was moved from Scotstoun to the capital because of a waterlogged pitch and predictions of more bad weather ahead of the encounter.
I think we were at 50 per cent of what we can do. I think we will bring another 50 per cent this week. I am confident we canRORY SUTHERLAND
Warriors coach Gregor Townsend has made five changes in the forwards, including the returns of big-hitters Jonny Gray and Josh Strauss, but Sutherland is confident he and his team-mates can win the key battlegrounds once more.
“It is always nice to see that,” said the 23-year-old of the opposition’s reshuffle. “They have obviously changed it because they know we have a good scrum. I can’t see them changing much in a week to be able to put up with what we are going to bring.
“I think we were at 50 per cent of what we can do. I think we will bring another 50 per cent this week. I am confident we can and I think the boys are confident we can as well so I am looking forward to it.”
With Scotland loosehead Al Dickinson still out with a calf injury, Sutherland again packs down in the front row with Test duo Ross Ford and WP Nel. He admits that last weekend’s dominant display was a satisfying experience.
“When you are seeing their forwards coming up and we’re smashing them back it is a good feeling,” he said.
The defeat will have hurt Glasgow pride and Sutherland knows the Guinness Pro12 champions will come out firing.
He added: “We are confident but we cannot get ahead of ourselves after our win on Sunday. We had a good start to the season, winning four in a row then went a bit inconsistent after that. It is nice to come back up again and back that up with a win over Glasgow. I don’t see any reason why we can’t do it again.”
A back-rower at youth level, Sutherland moved from his hometown Hawick club to Biggar and then on to Gala where he was mentored by former Scotland prop George Graham in the arts of front-row play.
After moving into the pro ranks with Edinburgh in the summer of 2014, Dickinson has been a big influence on his fledgling career.
“He has been really good to me,” said Sutherland. “You can ask him to do little bits and bobs after training and he is happy to do that.
“The most important thing I have learned from him is the technical side of scrumming. When I came in it was more brute force and ignorance that I used to get by. He helped me on the technical side, not exerting yourself too much, use the pack rather than try to do it yourself.
“If I want to ask him anything or chat about anything he is always very open about it. If I need it he would be there to help.”
It has been an exciting few months for the youngster with eight Pro12 appearances already under his belt this season and a whirlwind experience of the Rugby World Cup when national coach Vern Cotter called him up as injury cover ahead of the quarter-final against Australia. Sutherland, who has represented his country at Under-17, Under-18 and Club XV level, admits that whetted his appetite for the game’s biggest stage.
“It was nice to get a little taste [of the World Cup],” he said. “My ambition is to get a little bit more. The atmosphere, being in the changing room before and after the game, seeing what was said. It was nice to get down there. They welcomed me.
“They said that game [against Glasgow] was a bit of a stage for the Scotland team. There is always a little bit extra pressure when it is the local derby and it was at the back of my mind but you concentrate on the job in hand.”
Tomorrow, when he will be up against another young prospect in 19-year-old Glasgow tighthead Zander Fagerson, and playing as much as he can for Edinburgh remains the prime focus.
He added: “It is nice to play again. Dicko has been starting in front of me most of the season so it is nice to get a start again, get some game time with the boys.
“Solly [coach Alan Solomons] is trying his hardest to give me as much game time as possible. I am just going to make the most of it.”