Glasgow Warriors V Edinburgh
Edinburgh have retained the 1872 Cup after a strong second-half performance was enough to put Glasgow Warriors to the sword at a blustery Scotstoun.
Leading 6-3 at the half, the capital side capitalised on robust forward play and set-piece dominance to eventually grab a well-deserved win on the road, with captain Stuart McInally snatching the only try of the contest.
The victory now means Edinburgh have lifted the trophy in four of the last five seasons, whilst the four league points gained keeps the capital side well within the race for both the Guinness PRO14 Finals Series and Heineken Champions Cup qualification.
Speaking following the match, Head Coach Richard Cockerill was clearly proud of his side’s efforts throughput the 80 minutes and heaped praise on their commitment in both of the back-to-back 1872 Cup wins.
“It’s a big step forward in our development as a team,” explained the Head Coach. “Last week can be put down to Glasgow not executing, or how we cancelled out their attack, but we’ve come here and we’ve played all the rugby – we were the better side.
“I’m delighted with the performance. The players should take the credit. Glasgow are a really good side who we respect immensely. But it was a really good test coming to Scotstoun today. They knew what was coming. We knew what was coming from them and to be fair we pretty much controlled the game from start to finish.”
Edinburgh shot out to a quick lead as Jaco van der Walt – who had 11 of his side’s 16 points – nailed straightforward penalties either end of the half.
The stand-off, alongside his scrum-half partner Henry Pyrgos, showed excellent control throughout the match and his play was clearly aided by the capital side’s forward pack.
With several scrum penalties and quick, clean ball, the tight-five in particular were a major catalyst behind, what could be, a season defining win.
“I think if we play like play - and we play with the same intensity as we did last week - then we’re pretty hard to perform against,” said Cockerill. “If we play to our best ability, we’re really tough to break down and that was the case tonight.
“We obviously used the scrum to our advantage today. If you find a weakness, you go at the weakness and it’s simple as that. We’ve worked hard on our set-piece and you have to earn the right to dominate. You don’t just turn up and play.”
The only try of the match came 10 minutes after half-time. With a monstrous scrum, the ball eventually found its way into the hands of Bill Mata, who showed quick thinking and tenacity to surge only metres from Glasgow’s whitewash.
And with the hosts’ backline defence in reverse, McInally was on hand to power his way over the try-line for the all-important score. With Van der Walt converting, and adding a further penalty 10 minutes later, Edinburgh were in the driving seat at 3-16.
Glasgow’s replacement scrum-half, George Horne, sneaked a late score to breathe some ife into the contest, but it was Edinburgh who held on to secure their fourth win on the trot, and third in-a-row against their West Coast rivals.
“The only other team that has won at Scotstoun this year is Saracens And now Edinburgh – it’s good company to be in,” said Cockerill.
“It’s a small step in our development and we’ll keep working hard. In a way, the 1872 Cup is irrelevant. We needed the points because other parts of our season haven’t been good enough.
“But the last four weeks have proved, if we have the right people on the park, and we have the right mentality, we can win games. And tonight, we’ve done that.”
Edinburgh now prepare to face Southern Kings at BT Murrayfield next Saturday 5 January (kick-off 7.35pm) with crucial league points on offer. Secure your tickets now and kick-start 2019 in style