It is probably dangerous to read too much into one result, but there is little doubt which of the two coaches was happier at the end of the opening leg of the 1872 Cup.
ichard Cockerill had given a running commentary on the game from the Murrayfield coaches’ box and the Edinburgh coach was naturally ebullient after watching his 14-man team shrug off an early red card and an even earlier Glasgow try to win this one 18-17 with the final play of the day.
“That’s up there with anything I’ve been involved with,” said Cockerill who has been around the block and more than once. “The players deserve the credit because they played bloody well under some adversity. They’ve worked really hard from pre-season and we’re trying to be more difficult to play against, trying to earn respect around what we do and we showed that against Glasgow.
“I had no idea where we were going to end up. I said that to the coaches before the game and five minutes in I was even less sure. But at half time we just said we had to stay in the battle, do every job as well as we can and see where we get to. The score was irrelevant at that point; we just needed to make sure we had some credibility and I thought we did that.”
Edinburgh were left short-handed when prop Simon Berghan’s foot was judged to have made contact with Glasgow hooker Fraser Brown’s head in a ruck. The red card spoilt the game as a spectacle, Edinburgh hanging tough, Glasgow taking their foot off the gas and hoping the extra man meant that they could coast to victory.
“It wasn’t a pretty game,” Cockerill agreed, “especially after the red card it was always going to be more turgid. I’m just delighted with the effort and spirit, the passion and pride around what the boys were trying to do.
“I can’t coach the will for them to want to do it. I can bully them a little bit at training to work a bit harder but the players should take the credit because they were very good tonight. They’ve got to do it next week now.”
If the Edinburgh camp were understandably upbeat after the evening’s exploits David Rennie’s demeanour was even more Eeyore-ish than usual. The Glasgow coach had led his new club to ten successive league victories but the Warriors are winless in Europe and that failure followed them yesterday as they butchered countless chances.
“We went up 7-0 after about a minute and we had a one-man advantage a few minutes after that,” said Rennie. “We should never lose a game in that situation. It’s to Edinburgh’s credit, they hung in there and we kept feeding them the ball back.”
Was that the worst Glasgow performance on his watch?
“Hell yes!” the coach replied, and no-one was going to argue.