Jim Hamilton backs Glasgow Warriors to emulate Edinburgh - but explains why they may have to modify their style

Glasgow Warriors will land in South Africa on Tuesday knowing that at least one victory is likely to be required if they are to secure a top-four finish and a home tie in the United Rugby Championship play-offs.

Edinburgh's win over Sharks in Durban caused ripples in the United Rugby Championship. Photo by BackpagePix/Shutterstock
Edinburgh's win over Sharks in Durban caused ripples in the United Rugby Championship. Photo by BackpagePix/Shutterstock

Edinburgh are the only team from the northern hemisphere to have won in ‘the south’ this season and their 21-5 success over Cell C Sharks in Durban was a breakthrough moment for the nascent league.

Glasgow take on the DHL Stormers in Cape Town on Friday evening before heading to the Highveld to face Vodacom Bulls at altitude in Pretoria a week later.

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With three rounds of fixtures remaining in the regular season, Danny Wilson’s side sit third in the standings but a trio of South African sides are breathing down their necks, including the Stormers and Bulls.

Fly-half Ross Thompson helped Glasgow Warriors defeat Newcastle Falcons in the Challenge Cup. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The top eight will qualify for the play-offs but you need to be among the first four to have home advantage in the quarter-finals.

The Warriors have struggled on the road this season but are going to South Africa on the back of a good away win over Newcastle in the Challenge Cup last 16.

In his role as an analyst for Premier Sports, Jim Hamilton has had a ringside seat for some of the season’s biggest games, including Edinburgh’s win in Durban, and the former Scotland lock believes Glasgow have the ability to emulate Mike Blair’s side but may have to rein in their attacking instincts.

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“They are capable of winning,” said Hamilton. “They have a tremendous team. They sit third in the league but the big thing is their away form.

“It is going to be tough, with the conditions, and we are seeing the South African teams coming into form just now.

“They have to play more conservatively in South Africa. They are still in the Challenge Cup and won against Newcastle. Can Glasgow go down to South Africa for two weeks then back it up in Europe the following week? I think they can.

“They have a good enough squad and Danny Wilson has them playing a fantastic brand of rugby but it will be tough. The evolution for this Glasgow team is to go away and try and pick up one win.”

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Irish heavyweights Munster and Ulster have both gone to South Africa and lost twice, underlining how tough it is to master the weather and altitude. Edinburgh defeated the Sharks in monsoon conditions and Hamilton believes it says much for the character of the capital side.

“Blair Kinghorn was fantastic in that game. I wasn’t sure he was a ten, even although Gregor Townsend thinks he is, playing him in the Six Nations against Ireland. I think that game in South Africa cemented him as a real contender for Scotland at ten.”

Jim Hamilton is part of the Premier Sports team bringing every game live from the United Rugby Championship throughout the season including every second of the drama from the Top 8 quarter finals, the semi-finals and URC Championship final on Saturday June 18. Jim Hamilton will join Dougie Vipond, John Barclay, Bob Skinstad and Rory Lawson for live coverage of DHL Stormers v Glasgow Warriors on Premier Sports 1 from 5.30pm this Friday April 22.

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