Leg 1: 16-6
Leg 1 wasn’t much to write home about, save for an excellent team try by Glasgow that showed them at their attacking best. That was the rare highlight, but there was a welcome return to form for Al Kellock who ruled his particular set piece imperiously. There was bad news for Rob Harley fans as he limped off with a fairly hefty ankle/knee knock that while not requiring surgery, will keep him out of action for several weeks. Glasgow didn’t hit top gear, but didn’t need to and ran out 16-6 winners.
Leg 2: 20-8
And so to the second leg at Murrayfield, that saw Edinburgh make a handful of changes including the return of Tim Visser, and Phil Burleigh the latest in a series of experiments at 12 shuffling arguably our best 12, Matt Scott, out to 13 again. Glasgow made a raft of changes, perhaps suggesting that Townsend felt home advantage was enough to rest some of the key players last weekend, but they would be needed at BT Murrayfield to try and make the most of their 10 point lead.
Both standoffs Finn Russell and Greig Tonks were playing heads-up rugby and looking for space in behind the defensive line with a variety of nice chip kicks. Fife had an early chance when the bouncing ball from just one such kick caught Seymour unaware, but the Edinburgh wing stumbled and couldn’t quite escape Dunbar.
The new look Glasgow front row of Reid, Hall and Welsh had the early advantage in the scrum giving Russell a straightforward penalty kick to open the scoring.
Edinburgh hit back with Coman carrying close to the line but the momentum was deflated by a series of inept passes and fumbles from Fife then Scott.
Glasgow were skating on thin ice at the tackle area and pretty soon referee Nigel Owens gave the home side a chance to equalise. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne sneaked the ball over the upright into the ample breeze and Edinburgh were up and running.
They found some parity in the scrums and Glasgow attracted the ire of Owens again for their breakdown antics as Hall was punished for not rolling away; Hidalgo-Clyne kicked the penalty.
Tim Visser suddenly appeared in the game at that point, narrowly missing out on a speculative kick chase that was deemed in touch, before timing his run on to Tonks’ pass moments later for the games opening try. At 13-3, the aggregate score was suddenly 19-19 and Edinburgh were in the hunt for the 1872 Cup.
The second try was right out of Seymour’s playbook, only it was Visser (again) who snatched the interception and ran it in from distance after Glasgow tried to force things even before half time. At 20-3 Glasgow were looking nothing like the certain victors they had been touted as two weeks ago, unable to open up the Edinburgh miserly defence.
The home side were no longer playing like the Three Stooges in attack and suddenly became a much harder nut to crack.
HT: Edinburgh 20-3 Glasgow
Set piece seemingly cast aside during the team talk, Hall and Kellock were replaced at half time but it was Matawalu who scored one of his famous opportunist tries, scampering round to chase his own kick and lunging past Jack Cuthbert to get the lightest of touches on it in the huge in goal area of BT Murrayfield. The conversion was missed, but that quick try and a couple of galloping runs from Nakarawa had the large visiting support buzzing.
Tonks had been great in the first half but suddenly his kicking went to pot, and players like Maitland who had been quiet were suddenly everywhere during a breathtaking spell of end to end rugby. It wasn’t quite the BaaBaas – there was a lot of kicking, but at least it was not of the aimless variety, probing for the spaces left by runners out of position.
Russell grew into the game at this point too making another lovely break, something that was refreshing to see from a Scottish standoff. Strauss and Gray were, however, very quiet, a testament to Edinburgh’s defence perhaps but also the root cause of Glasgow’s ills; they had very little go-forward ball until Nakarawa came on.
Edinburgh, rather than collapsing hopelessly in the face of this attack, tightened things up and with Kellock off the park, Toolis and Bresler had a real crack at Jonny Gray’s lineout, stifling the game just as Glasgow were trying to open it up. Hidalgo-Clyne missed a couple of penalties but Edinburgh were where they wanted to be on the pitch, the scoreboard and the clock. With set-piece dominance – Al Dickinson re-appeared late on in the scrums and took Euan Murray to the cleaners – the cup was theirs.
They may never be pretty, but Edinburgh under Alan Solomons had done their homework and while they didn’t seem to have an answer to Glasgow’s Plan A, they managed to stop them deploying it for all but those 10 minutes in the second half.
It was enough for Edinburgh to run out deserved winners of the match, and the 1872 Cup.
Aggregate score: Edinburgh 26-24 Glasgow
SRBlog Man of the Match: difficult to judge, this one. Hidalgo-Clyne was effective and Visser had the maximum impact versus time he was noticed, but Ali Dickinson deserves it for a solid effort in the scrum and the loose, sharing it alongside Ross Ford who never gave an inch and carried powerfully.