Glasgow Warriors stun Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield and win 1872 Cup with dominant performance
Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors served up a thriller at BT Murrayfield, with the men from the west worthy winners thanks to a superlative second-half performance. Their 32-25 victory on the night, after a 16-10 win last week at Scotstoun, saw them reclaim the 1872 Cup with a 48-35 aggregate triumph.
To put it in context, you have to go back to 2013-14 for the last time Glasgow won at Scotstoun and Murrayfield in the 1872 Cup in the same season. They outscored the hosts by four tries to three and in Sione Tuipulotu they had the outstanding player on the field. Good news for the watching Gregor Townsend, with the Six Nations a little over a month away. Duhan van der Merwe going off early would have been less edifying for the Scotland coach.
For Franco Smith, this must have felt like a statement victory, and with a bonus point too. It was the Warriors’ fifth win on the trot in all competitions and puts them four points ahead of their Scottish rivals in the URC standing. For Edinburgh, it was a fourth consecutive league defeat and the worry for Mike Blair will be how they let a 20-12 half-time lead disintegrate
Just like last week, Edinburgh were hit by the late withdrawal of Wes Goosen who had a calf injury. It meant Emiliano Boffelli moving from full-back to wing, with academy player Harry Paterson coming into the side at full-back.
A whirlwind start saw a try for each captain inside the opening 10 minutes, with the visitors striking first. They used an early scrum penalty to win a lineout inside the Edinburgh 22 and worked the ball out to Tuipulotu, who carried well off the back of the ruck. Glasgow recycled and the ball was moved out from Tom Jordan to Sintu Manjezi to Kyle Steyn, who cut inside to score, with Edinburgh pair James Lang and Paterson unable to stop him. Jordan converted.
The home side had barely drawn breath but they came storming back. A grubber kick from Blair Kinghorn had Sebastian Cancelliere in all sorts of trouble and the momentum was back with Edinburgh. Kinghorn tried to squeeze into the corner but had a foot in touch but Edinburgh continued to press, with Sam Skinner charging down Ali Price’s clearance kick. The home pack piled in and the quick-thinking Ritchie dotted down at the base of the post, with Boffelli adding the extras.
The Argentine, who signed a new two-year contract this week, then chipped over a penalty to put Edinburgh 10-7 ahead after Ollie Smith was guilty of coming in from the side.
Glasgow won the physical battle last week but Edinburgh’s pack seemed re-energised at Murrayfield. They drove their opponents off their feet at one Glasgow scrum midway through the first half and won a penalty as a result. It was a huge moment and led directly to Edinburgh’s second try as they kicked to the corner, won the lineout, then used the maul to unleash Crosbie who peeled off to score.
Boffelli’s conversion extended Edinburgh’s advantage to seven points but in Tuipulotu Glasgow had a potent attacking weapon and the centre was soon on the charge again, dragging his team up the pitch. Price’s touch-finder gave Glasgow a lineout close to the Edinburgh line and they executed a smart lineout move to score their second try, with Stafford McDowall joining the big men at the set-piece. Fraser Brown found the centre who teed up Ritchie Gray before Matt Fagerson forced his way over. Jordan couldn’t convert but Glasgow were back within five points. Just before half-time Boffelli gave Edinburgh some breathing space with his second penalty, with Jamie Bhatti the Glasgow offender.
Smith has trusted Jordan with the playmaker’s role this season and the Glasgow 10 repaid his coach with his side’s third try of the match. The stand-off was involved at the start of the move but Sione Vailanu deserved credit for his bullocking run. The Tongan flanker fed Cancelliere, who slipped the ball back inside to Jordan, who sped to the line. Some home supporters grumbled that the pass had been forward but referee Sam Grove-White declared that the try was good and Jordan converted to make it 20-19 to Edinburgh as the game moved towards the final quarter.
The pendulum had swung back in Glasgow’s favour and as they increased the pressure on the Edinburgh line Marshall Sykes resorted to illegal means to try to stop them. Grove-White was unimpressed and showed the replacement lock a yellow card. George Horne, on for Ali Price, took over kicking duties and landed the penalty to edge Glasgow ahead.
The substitute scrum-half would have an even bigger role to play a couple of minutes later. Tuipulotu sparked the move, kicking through for Steyn. The ball sat up perfectly for the Glasgow captain whose quick hands found Jordan who in turn played in Horne who raced in for a magnificent try which he then converted. The Warriors now led 29-20 and had secured the try bonus point into the bargain but they weren’t done and Horne knocked over another penalty to make it 32-20 with seven minutes remaining.
Edinburgh had one final spurt, and when Grant Gilchrist won a late lineout, replacement hooker Patrick Harrison darted round the outside of the maul like a nippy scrum-half to score in the corner. They couldn’t convert but it was enough to secure a losing bonus point.
Scorers: Edinburgh: Tries: Ritchie, Crosbie, Harrison. Cons: Boffelli 2. Pens: Boffelli 2.
Glasgow: Tries: Steyn, M Fagerson, Jordan, Horne. Cons: Jordan 2, Horne. Pens: Horne 2.
Yellow card: Marshall Sykes (Edinburgh)
Edinburgh: H Paterson; E Boffelli, M Bennett, J Lang (C Hutchison 71), D van der Merwe (C Savala 64); B Kinghorn, H Pyrgos (C Shiel 69); B Venter (P Schoeman 50), T Cruse (P Harrison 60), WP Nel (A Williams 69), S Skinner (M Sykes 60), G Gilchrist, J Ritchie, L Crosbie, V Mata (C Boyle 57).
Glasgow Warriors: O Smith (D Miotti 77); S Cancelliere, S Tuipulotu, S McDowall, K Steyn; T Jordan, A Price (G Horne 66); J Bhatti (N McBeth 60), F Brown (G Turner 52), L Sordoni (S Berghan 12-20; 52), S Manjezi (L Bean 40), R Gray (JP du Preez 61), M Fagerson, S Vailanu (C Neild 77), J Dempsey.
Referee: Sam Grove-White (SRU)