FORMER British and Irish Lion John Beattie has called for a “rubber-match” between Glasgow and Edinburgh to be played at the end of the current campaign.
Edinburgh may have snatched the 1872 Cup away from Glasgow by dint of their 20-8 victory at BT Murrayfield last Friday, which saw them claim the trophy by a two-point aggregate margin but Beattie says that, with Glasgow having posted a 16-6 victory in the first leg, the natural progression should be for a third and decisive match to be pencilled in at the end of the current campaign.
While with Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons claiming “the significance of this game should not be lost” in the aftermath of his side’s victory, Beattie, who played for both teams, also believes that Edinburgh’s first 1872 Cup triumph since 2009 might be about to signal a change in the domestic balance of power.
He is confident that both Glasgow and Edinburgh will use the experience to kick-on in the Guinness Pro 12, when they return to action in three days’ time against Scarlets and Connacht respectively.
“Maybe you can say that the balance of power is swinging towards Edinburgh. But I think the best thing you can do is to have a third game and make it state of origin,” said the former Scotland No 8.
“You can’t let it rest at one win apiece, so I’m calling now as a guy who has played for both sides, for a rubber-match in the spring. A bye-bye, get ready for the World Cup. I think that would be a fantastic way to end the season. I’m sure you would get a bumper crowd along in the spring and it would be a great platform for the World Cup.”
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Next up for the wounded Warriors is Friday’s visit of a Scarlets side who beat Gregor Townsend’s men 19-9 back in November at Parc y Scarlets and the Welsh side will travel to Glasgow with confidence high after their victory over Guinness Pro12 leaders Ospreys on Saturday.
But Beattie is confident Glasgow will bounce back. He said: “If Glasgow don’t hammer Scarlets after this there is something wrong. There is only one way they can go after that Edinburgh performance and that is up. They are at home, in front of their fans and they will feel they owe their support a very big response and I think they will put it all on the line at Scotstoun.
“Apart from anything else, they have already lost to the Scarlets this season and they will want to redress that. But pride will also be on the line at Scotstoun and I expect a huge performance from Glasgow. They are a brilliant team and they have hiccupped. They were always going to hiccup at some stage and, if there was a time when it was going to come, then it was going to be down the M8 in a derby match at the home of their oldest rivals who were desperate to stick one on them.
“It’s not like this was a game against, say, Connacht. This was the oldest derby in club rugby and Edinburgh hadn’t beaten Glasgow at Murrayfield since 2011 and hadn’t won the trophy since a couple of years before, so they really wanted it. On the night, I think that had a lot to do with it but Glasgow will be fine.
“It is a definite plus for them that they have a home game next against Scarlets on Friday and that it is a quick turnaround, as they will be desperate to get the Edinburgh game out of their systems.”
The BBC Radio Scotland presenter also believes that Edinburgh can now use their derby success to kick-on in the Pro12 as they target a top-six finish.
He said: “Edinburgh have a tough one at Connacht on Friday and they are also coming off a big win against a local rival with their defeat of Munster. But you look at Edinburgh’s European campaign in the Challenge Cup, how competitive they were in the first leg at Glasgow and now they have this win behind them, so they will travel to the Sports Ground with renewed belief.
“They also had that 13-14 defeat to Connacht on the second weekend of the season and Edinburgh will have waited a long while for this return game to come around. When [Tim] Visser got the intercept try it was because he had read the play, so Edinburgh had plainly done their homework on Glasgow and it really paid off for them. I’m sure they will have done plenty of preparation for Connacht.
“But Connacht are sitting sixth, which is where Edinburgh want to be, and there are eight points between the two sides, so this is a real acid test of Edinburgh’s ability to get to where they want to go to.”
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