Glasgow began this rescheduled 1872 Cup decider at Scotstoun with their usual confidence, with a livewire Ruaridh Jackson Glasgow’s returning choice at 10 and making an assured start.
Glasgow opened the scoring with a penalty and kept the initiative with a well-taken score for Peter Murchie that showed that a solid forward platform, good service and putting the ball through the hands simply still goes a long way in rugby.
To signal that this wouldn’t be the procession most (outside of the Edinburgh camp) predicted, Edinburgh hit back through WP Nel minutes later, the South African prop bundling over from short range and Laidlaw converting from out wide, making the most of the strong wind.
The plot almost went further off course for Glasgow soon after as Andries Strauss gathered a bouncing ball and charged for the line; his foot was only just dragged into touch by the impressive Mark Bennett.
Bennett was the victim of a high tackle from Van Der Westhuizen that saw the lock sin-binned and then was involved again minutes later as a nice break allowed Ruaridh Jackson to wrongfoot the defence and grab a second try.
Defensive mishaps aside, Glasgow’s backs led by Jackson, Russell and Murchie were finding holes in the Edinburgh line quite easily and Bennett capped an impressive first half for him and his team with his own try just before the break.
Half Time: 23-13
The teams were barely out on the pitch when Mike Coman was sin binned for a repeated infringements by Edinburgh, meaning Edinburgh had played a quarter of the game with 14 men. Glasgow duly sealed the bonus point with half an hour to play after quick hands from Ruaridh Jackson put Murchie into a gap that he ran through with ease, to a huge cheer from the Scotstoun crowd.
As Edinburgh began the substitutions and both sides were restored to fifteen men, Glasgow might have run away with it but Edinburgh refused to lie down, crossing the line once – but held up – and then again, with a try for Matt Scott shortly thereafter.
While Edinburgh had academy players and foreigners on the bench, Glasgow brought on their own foreign legion of flying Fijians to keep the tempo up in the last quarter. With the margin of difference only ten points and Bezuidenhout willing to try kicks from well inside his own half, Glasgow had to be on their toes but for every bright spark like Cuthbert’s run or Scott turning ball over in the ruck there was a duff offload or a knock on.
It is perhaps telling that Visser’s first run of note was in his own half and with 68 minutes on the clock, but he made the most of his last ten minutes with two tries, one possibly as a result of a TMO bungle and one following a beautiful floated pass from Grant Gilchrist – not the first time he’s done that.
Glasgow capped a very effective performance with Murchie and Richie Vernon combining for Rob Harley’s score, while Visser’s late flourish gave Edinburgh a boost, and two losing bonus points. Glasgow move to second in the Rabo with their 5 point win, but will be concerned about their sleepy last quarter having apparently sealed the win.
Edinburgh played their part in the game, but this Glasgow team clearly has an edge and a confidence Edinburgh lack, and they seem to have it in spades.
SRBlog Man of the Match: As usual Josh Strauss was hugely impressive and Peter Murchie scored two tries, but Ruaridh Jackson was the driving creative force in attack and made several nice offloads or half-breaks to keep his team going forward. On this form Wasps would be very happy with their new signing.