Hamish Watson: Edinburgh have to keep up pressure on Glasgow

Edinburgh's Hamish Watson tackles Glasgow Warriors' George Horne, left. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS
Edinburgh's Hamish Watson tackles Glasgow Warriors' George Horne, left. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS
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Scotland flanker Hamish Watson wouldn’t be giving away any state secrets to suggest that there will be no radically different gameplan on Saturday afternoon when Edinburgh head to Scotstoun looking to wrap up a fourth 1872 Cup triumph in five years.

Glasgow buckled in the face of the capital team’s tactics and overall strategy at BT Murrayfield last weekend as the home side squeezed their inter-city rivals at the set-piece and forward exchanges, then applied intense pressure whenever the Warriors did have ball to force decisive errors that led to a comfortable 23-7 win.

“If we play like we did in this game we have a really good shot at beating them away from home,” said Watson. “We will review the first game but then this week is a new week, a completely different game. They are very good at home, it will be a tough one.”

Pressure was one of the most used words in the aftermath of Saturday and Watson is hoping he and his team-mates can keep their opponents in that suffocating grip. “Our exits meant we put them under a lot of pressure and they could not play the game they wanted,” said the 
openside.

“Glasgow get very frustrated when they can’t play the game they want. We went into the game wanting 
to frustrate them and that is what 
we did.

“On the back of good D [defence] and our set-piece the big one Duhy [wing Duhan van der Merwe] gets two amazing tries that probably only he in the team could finish. But it was a big performance from all the boys.”

Watson has been involved in a number of wins over Glasgow now – this was a seventh 1872 Cup victory in the last nine for Edinburgh – but he agreed that the most recent was the most comprehensive.

“Definitely – for a while anyway. We have gone into games and dominated them physically before against them but off the top of my head score-wise that probably was,” 
he added.

“You don’t play a team like Glasgow and expect everything to go your own way, there were moments in the game that could have gone either way but our pack really fronted up and our set-piece was better than theirs on the day. We train to get our set-piece right and work very hard at it, so we are very happy with that.

“We knew that if we put line speed on them and tried to put them under a lot of pressure they would try to force things. Luckily we had a really good start with that interception and we had a kick first. After that they tried to force things a bit and we were 13-0 up before they replied. We started the game really well, had a really good platform into the game so that they were on the back foot from the 
get-go.”

There is certain to be a response from Glasgow, who bounced back from a 18-17 loss last year to grind out a win in a match which is more memorable for the half-hour delay caused by a stadium evacuation when a Scotstoun fire alarm went off. “It was a bit of a weird game last year. It was 17-0, so not as though it was a smashing or anything,” recalled Watson. “We got parts of our game wrong that day. They will be gunning for us after a big win like that for us. A lot of their stuff did not go right, so we will expect them to be on top form this week but, hopefully, we can get that away win.”

After going eight months without an away win, Edinburgh got that monkey off their backs with a 21-8 success at Newcastle in the Heineken Champions Cup a couple of weeks ago and Watson hopes it will be 
like the proverbial wait for a London bus.

“We wouldn’t have wanted to go into Glasgow without an away win but we have had a lot of away games we could have won. It is not like we go away and crumble,” he said.

“We have a good team and, as we saw here, if we stick to what we 
do well they will struggle to beat us.”

This is very much the heart of that key post-autumn, pre-Six Nations period and, after back-to-back wins in Europe and the defeat of Glasgow, Watson believes Edinburgh are well placed to push on for a big start 
to 2019.

“Obviously, it is tough for Edinburgh and Glasgow when the international stuff is on,” said the 27-year-old. “We lose a lot of players maybe compared to some of the Irish and Welsh provinces because we only have two teams.

“The boys did alright when the internationals were away but now those boys are back it does give the squad a lift.

“We know what we can do when we have our full team out and it is really promising.”