INTERVIEW | Rory Lawson: "It's set up to be a mouth-watering encounter."

Rory Lawson is excited to see an improving Edinburgh Rugby outfit go up against an unbeaten Glasgow Warriors side in this weekend’s 1872 Cup derby.

The 36-year-old former Scotland scrum-half started his pro career in the capital back in 2003 before leaving to join Gloucester in 2006.

Although Lawson retired from professional rugby in 2013, the Dollar Academy product admits that ‘he’s had a soft spot for the men in black and red’ and thinks this weekend’s 1872 will be an almighty tussle.

“Edinburgh have won eight out of their last nine matches [in all competitions] and what has been great is seeing the way they have run in a barrel-load of tries during December,” Lawson said.

“That clinical attacking play has been very refreshing and Richard Cockerill has clearly made a positive impact.

“Edinburgh will be going into this one with a lot of momentum and it is set-up to be a mouth-watering encounter.”

As a number nine himself, or at least a retired one, Lawson always looks at the players who could be in that position in any given match and he has been impressed of late by Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Glasgow’s Ali Price.

“We all know what Sam Hidalgo-Clyne is capable of, but the key thing for him is to manage to find some consistency in his game,” he said.

“He is an international quality scrum-half and if he can nail down the number nine jersey with Edinburgh then he can push back into the Edinburgh reckoning.

“I think Ali Price was very, very good during the Autumn internationals and is a real livewire and he has a firm grip on the Scotland jersey with Greig Laidlaw currently injured.”

Two up-and-coming talents in the Edinburgh backline who have also caught Lawson’s eye recently have been Darcy Graham and Blair Kinghorn.

He stated: “I covered the under-20s World Cup in Georgia in the summer and Darcy Graham showed what talent he had. Richard Cockerill speaks highly of him and he is clearly a lad who works hard and is thriving being in the pro environment.

“Blair Kinghorn is of similar age and he is someone who has had a very good start to his pro career and with that comes expectation.

“He is a guy who previously made mistakes, but over time he is working those out of his game while keeping the flair parts of his game.

“He is a big man, a rangy runner and certainly a talent with a lot of ability.”

And Lawson feels openside Hamish Watson has become a key leader in the Edinburgh dressing room.

“Hamish Watson across the last couple of years has really developed and he comes across as an important leader in the group at Edinburgh, especially with the likes of Al Dickinson, Ross Ford and WP Nel out injured and different voices needed to get the lads going,” Lawson explained.

“As for others who could be in pivotal positions, I haven’t seen too much of [stand-off] Jaco van der Walt as yet, but from what I hear he is a very canny operator and I think coming into the 1872 Cup games is a great way to immerse yourself in what it is to play for Edinburgh and Glasgow in the game.

“That is because as an Edinburgh or Glasgow player they are matches that you cannot wait to be involved in and, having played in a handful as an underdog, it is a great opportunity to put in a big performance.

“They are big, big games and the Edinburgh players will all understand what it means to play in this one.

“I do think it’ll be a tight game, the Richard Cockerill v Dave Rennie factor will be good and it will be fascinating to see how they set their teams up.”