Storylines: Glasgow Warriors
Edinburgh Rugby travel west to face intercity rivals Glasgow Warriors in the first leg of the 1872 Cup tonight (27 December, kick-off 7pm) - live on Premier Sports 1
There are the storylines to look out for as the capital side prepare for a derby day showdown at Scotstoun stadium.
JACO IS BACK
Jaco van der Walt returns to Edinburgh's starting line-up and makes his first start since sustaining an injury in the 17-10 triumph over Vodacom Bulls back in October. The Scotland internationalist is no stranger to the fixture and helped Edinburgh claim back-to-back-to-back trophies between 2017-2020.
The stand-off had made a productive start to the season before his injury, contributing 26 points in three starts for the side, and picked up a Player of the Match award against the Stormers when he laid on two try assists and scored 10 points from the tee.
Jaco will be partnered in the halves by Henry Pyrgos, making his first start of the season, with Edinburgh looking to lean on experience in their half-back pairing.
Pyrgos has been in impressive form, coming up with match defining plays in recent wins against Benetton and Saracens, and will look to make a positive impression as he starts against his former side.
YOUNG GUNS IN THE ENGINE ROOM
While Head Coach Mike Blair is opting for experience in the halves, he is turning to youth in the second row.
Locks Jamie Hodgson and Marshall Sykes both recently signed new contacts with the capital club and will start together against Glasgow.
The pair have impressed since breaking into the professional ranks from the FOSROC Super6, with both locks earning their first full international honours in the recent Autumn Nations Series win against Tonga.
The second-row combination have enjoyed impressive starts to the 2021/22 season, with Hodgson featuring in six matches and Sykes five, with both playing a significant role in the club’s EPCR Challenge Cup Round 1 victory against Saracens.
The spirits are high in both Edinburgh and Glasgow camps, with both sides registering famous European wins in their previous outings.
Edinburgh knocked Saracens off their perch last time out, coming away with a 21-18 win away to the European heavyweights. Glasgow similarly took on English opposition, in the Champions Cup, impressively beating previous Champions Exeter 22-7 in the fog at Scotstoun.
In recent years, one of the city sides has usually been in more confident mood than the other, however this year both sides will go into the game believing that they are the favourites.
Emiliano Boffelli and Ramiro Moyano are in line to feature in their first 1872 Cup matches since joining Edinburgh in the summer, and the Argentine internationals will be looking to maintain their stellar form since arriving in the Scottish capital.
Moyano has been electric on the wing, scoring three tries in three appearances, including a brace against the Dragons at Rodney Parade, helping secure a 30-14 away bonus point win with his tenacity and pace.
The former Toulon flyer also scored a vital try in the victory against Saracens, latching onto a cross-field kick from Savala to dot down brilliantly.
Boffelli has similarly impressed, through his try scoring exploits and with his thunderous boot. The full-back announced himself to Edinburgh fans instantaneously, taking just three minutes to score in his debut against the Dragons, kicking ahead and outpacing the Dragons defence to score.
The Puma followed his try scoring debut by crossing the whitewash against Benetton, before putting in a match-winning display with the boot to beat Saracens – notching two 50m+ penalties to put the English side to the sword.
URC POINTS UP FOR GRABS
It’s easy to forget the importance that these fixtures have on URC league and conference positions with the 1872 Cup and inter-city bragging rights on the line.
Edinburgh have made a lightning start to their campaign, and sit 2nd in the table, with Glasgow not far behind in 5th. A win for either side can either open or close the gap, significantly impacting either side’s hopes of European qualification and progressing to the URC knockout stages.
The Scottish sides sit 1st and 2nd in the Scottish/Italian shield, and two bonus point wins could see Glasgow leapfrog into pole position, and automatic qualification for the Champions Cup.
Edinburgh, on the other hand, will be eager to secure further victories to help their push for the top of the table.