Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend rues change to 1872 Cup timing
Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend expressed delight at getting the better of Edinburgh for the first time in four attempts but admitted the changed structure to the inter-city showdown this season meant most of the pleasure was derived from the four vital Guinness Pro12 points accrued.
Following yesterday’s 25-12 win for the visitors at BT Murrayfield there is now more than four months to wait until the return match at Scotstoun in May. While Townsend will be keen to have the cup back in Glasgow hands after two successive aggregate defeats before he departs to take over the Scotland job, ending a three-match losing sequence in the Pro12 and getting back on course for the top four was uppermost in his mind after a game which attracted a Boxing Day crowd of 21,036.
“It feels more like a Pro12 game rather than an 1872 Cup,” said Townsend. “[If there was an immediate return game] we’d all be talking about points differential and what’s happening next week.
“It was a great occasion with over 20,000 people here, especially with weather leading up to the game. It was a good committed game.”
The attendance was slightly down on last year’s record gate of 23,642 but the 2015 match was played in much milder conditions and took place a day later on 27 December.
Glasgow avenged their three straight defeats by Edinburgh with a win that came courtesy of tries by Junior Bulukamau, Josh Strauss and Alex Dunbar, the home side’s points all coming from the boot of Duncan Weir against his former club.
Finn Russell contributed two conversions and a penalty, plus a drop goal through the same BT Murrayfield posts in front of which he had squandered late kicks against Argentina in the autumn Test series last month.
With Glasgow leading 15-6 in the 56th minute, Russell was about to strike a penalty attempt when the ball toppled off the tee. The stand-off simply picked up the ball and pinged the drop kick over, to the delight of his coach, who admitted it was not something he had ever done in his career.
“Not in a penalty. I would have done it in a conversion,” said Townsend. “It was very good that it went over. You’ve got a minute there so Finn probably had time to put the ball back on the tee, run back and put it over and I think he would probably have done that pretty easily.
“He’s someone who likes not much time on the ball but to do that from a drop kick was great.”
Townsend added: “We are very pleased to have won. It’s been a long time coming.”
Edinburgh acting head coach Duncan Hodge, lamented a lack of cutting edge in a game in which they didn’t lack for possession.
“We had pressure and possession but we couldn’t turn it into points,” said Hodge. “We kept accumulating - three, three, three - but they scored a couple of tries and opened up a gap. We didn’t get close enough.
“We played okay for 20 minutes but couldn’t get away from them. They slowed our ball down really well and probably got quicker ball than us.”