Edinburgh eager to buck losing trend on Glasgow soil

Edinburgh captain Stuart McInally gives a thumbs up at full-time after his side's 23-7 win over Glasgow at BT Murrayfield last week. Picture: SNS/SRU
Edinburgh captain Stuart McInally gives a thumbs up at full-time after his side's 23-7 win over Glasgow at BT Murrayfield last week. Picture: SNS/SRU
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Most of the stats surrounding
the 1872 Cup in recent years make pleasant reading for Edinburgh fans but one in favour of Glasgow still sticks out like a sore thumb.

The capital side will go into this afternoon’s inter-city clash at Scotstoun hoping to make it eight wins in ten against their rivals and take the trophy for the fourth time in five years. If they do, however, it will be 
only their second triumph on Glasgow soil for 15 years.

It is a remarkable record that will give Dave Rennie’s men some confidence that they can hit back from last week’s limp 23-7 loss at BT Murrayfield and take the contest down to a deciding third game at the end of the regular season.

Asked if such a poor return in Glasgow suggested a psychological block which will have to be countered today, Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill said: “Maybe, I don’t know. I’ve not been around long enough.

“All teams are stronger at home. It’s a synthetic pitch, which suits them. It’s a tough place to go. We have got to get our mentality right to go away from home and put performances in. We’ve got to front up and make sure we do that tomorrow.”

Edinburgh lost 17-0 at Scotsoun last year but enjoyed a 25-12 win the previous year in what was Gregor Townsend’s last match in charge of the Warriors. They also won the “away” fixture in January 2016 but that match was moved to the national stadium due to Scotstoun being waterlogged.

Cockerill repeated the mantra from last week that Guinness Pro14 points were more important than the silverware.

“One hundred per cent,” he said. “They’re sitting top of their conference and we’re sitting fifth in ours. They’ve earned the right to have a little bit more of a buffer for the play-off spot.

“We need the points. We’ve got to look at the bigger picture – it’s not just about beating Glasgow, it’s about getting the points.

“This isn’t our season. We need the points because we are where we are in the table and we’ve dropped some games that we shouldn’t have. Come tomorrow afternoon after the game we’ll know exactly where we are in our development as a team.”

Cockerill has made just one change from last weekend, with Jamie Ritchie 
coming in at blindside for Luke 
Hamilton, who has failed 
concussion protocols. Hamilton was an impressive 
performer last week but his injury eases any selection headache and fit-again 
Ritchie will be looking to carry on his fine form from the international stage last month.

“Jamie had a great Autumn Series, he’s a really good young player and he’s been outstanding when he’s played for us this season. So no stress there,” said Cockerill. “Luke Crosbie has done a great job off the bench and he’s another young lad coming through.

“We’re a pretty settled team. We’ve picked the best side that we can that’s available, and we’re going to go and do what we do. We’re looking forward to the challenge.

“It’s certainly not boring, is it? Because we won last week it makes them a bit spikier, it makes the challenge more difficult for ourselves, but we’re going there to go and test ourselves against a very, very good side. We know what they’ll come with. We have to match that and we have to be better than we were last week.”

Edinburgh will be looking for their third straight away win in all competitions and Cockerill added: “It is a really
good test for us away as we have been strong at home. It was a good performance last week and we have to match that same intensity this week.

“We have got to be better than we were last year when we went there, simple as that.

“It was 17-0 but 12-0 up until the last play. We have to match the intensity that they will undoubtedly bring. They have made changes to their team and we have to make sure we are as physical and committed and motivated as we were last week.”

Cockerill said he wasn’t 
surprised to see Rennie make six changes to his team in a bid to deliver a vastly improved performance.

“They have a deep squad that is fit and available and the players they have brought in are very good players and they will also have real impact from the bench so it is a good squad and that is a very good side,” said the Edinburgh coach.

“They have brought in six internationals to replace their players so they have a very strong side. We expect a very tough battle and we 
look forward to meeting the challenge.”