Edinburgh V Glasgow Warriors
Edinburgh secured a well-deserved win in the first leg of the 1872 Cup this evening as two tries from Duhan van der Merwe were enough to put a strong Glasgow Warriors outfit to the sword.
The win – which was built upon an extremely effective set-piece and outstanding defence – sees Edinburgh maintain their unbeaten record at BT Murrayfield, with tonight’s result the ninth straight win at home for the capital side.
The win also keeps Edinburgh within touching distance of third-place Scarlets, who fell to defeat at Ospreys tonight, leaving Richard Cockerill’s right in the mix for the Guinness PRO14 Final Series.
Speaking following the match, Cockerill was left proud of his side’s tenacious efforts throughout the 80 minutes, and said: “I thought we were outstanding tonight. Set piece and defence was great whilst we pressured them to make errors.
"We’re delighted with the result and the performance and I think we deserved to win. Glasgow are a great side. They play some brilliant rugby and they are a hard team to play against.
“You have to stop them getting into a rhythm and we did through our set piece and defence, and we got into their passing channels. We were fortunate to get a couple of intercepts, but if you put them under pressure enough, and Glasgow play like they play with high risk rugby, then it can go both ways – so we’ll take it tonight.”
A dogged defensive performance was perhaps highlighted in Edinburgh’s two tries, with both coming from pressured Van der Merwe intercepts. Both the backline and forward pack were outstanding throughout the contest and kept Glasgow’s high-octane offence to just seven points.
“Calum MacRae does a great job with our defence and he was able to identify a few areas,” explained Cockerill.
“If you sit on your heels in defence and let them run at you, then you’re going to have some problems. We were always going to be aggressive defensively and it’s a bit of luck of the draw. You’ll take intercepts when they come and that’s the game sometimes.
“We were really delighted with our physicality and our set-piece. We still left some opportunities out there and bar a little wobble after half time, I thought we were pretty much in control. Our set-piece and commitment on goal line defence really kept them out and its won the game for us.”
With Edinburgh leading 13-7 at the break, Glasgow came into the second-half with a renewed energy in attack and had Edinburgh in their own half for the opening stages.
However, the capital side kept up their defensive intensity and even with the visitors on their try-line, there was no breaching the Edinburgh brick wall.
“They’re a great side and your always concerned, even when you’re two tries up, that they can come back into the match and cause your problems. We respect them a lot and we know we’ve got a massive game next week.
“We’ll take the win. We’re really proud of the performance from our guys tonight because they’re a really good side. They’re top of their conference, doing well in Europe and tonight’s win shows that we’re a really good team too.”
Edinburgh now must prepare to travel to Scotstoun for the return leg next Saturday and with the 1872 Cup on the line, the stakes are even higher.
But, Cockerill isn’t getting carried away following tonight’s impressive win and believes next week will see a wounded Warriors outfit out for revenge.
“I know it’s Christmas, but we’re not going to get too excited. We’ll freshen up this week, train hard and go there to try and win. Exactly how we were tonight. They’ll be hurting and we expect them to come back at us stronger, but we’ll be ready for the challenge at Scotstoun.