Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


1872 Cup: Edinburgh 23-11 Glasgow

John Hardie - or is it the other way round? - pic © Al Ross
Pete Horne lines up John Hardie - or is it the other way round? - pic © Al Ross

The first half of this year’s 1872 cup kicked off at a sunny BT Murrayfield with PRO12 champions Glasgow looking to regain the trophy after last year’s shock. Edinburgh started the day as rank outsiders and things looked ominous for the capital side after only 6 minutes when a scything Glasgow move, started by a superb Nakarawa turnover, cut the black and red defence to shreds. Glasgow recycled well and eventually the ball was spun wide to Bennett who crossed the line. Russell lined up the extras but on a perfect day for kicking, he couldn’t convert.

Glasgow quickly looked to capitalise on their impressive start, stealing line out ball on half way but it was clear that Edinburgh were very much in the mood for a physical battle, with John Hardie leading his team in a manner that showed scant regard for his personal safety. Big Taqele Naiyarovoro wanted in on the action as well, one particularly well timed hit on Jack Cuthbert making the crowd wince.

Whilst the big hits and thundering rucking from both teams was all good fun, the other skills on show were rather uninspired. Some aerial ping pong resulted in a horrible sliced up and under from Sam Hidalgo-Clyne which brought play back to halfway. That period of play was particularly poor but then came the moment of the match. A great break out from Du Preez, where the big number 8 thundered up the wing before smashing into/through Finn Russell. With the Glasgow 10 laying splattered on the turf, a lovely pop out the side to Matt Scott, cutting a brilliant angle, sent the Scotland centre clear of the defence; a beautiful reminder of what Scott offers when fully fit. Hidalgo-Clyne added the extras from out wide: 7-5 Edinburgh.

It took 16 minutes for the first scrum to arrive. Glasgow looked to be heading backwards but they coped well and shifted the ball. From the resulting play they gained a penalty which Russell knocked into touch at the 22m line. Fraser Brown tried a training ground number, receiving the short ball straight back but his foot caught touch at the 5m line. Ross Ford now had a pressure throw, the sort of moment that brings everyone with any passing interest in Scottish Rugby out in cold sweats. The big hooker, on his 150th appearance for Edinburgh coped really well, throwing extra-long to Du Preez. Hidalgo-Clyne completed the job with the box kick up to around 30m.

Both sides continued to physically batter each other at every possible opportunity, with some of the rucking in particular looking right on the edge of legality. Again John Hardie was at the heart of so much of this physicality but he fell afoul of Mr Lacey on 26 minutes for hands in the ruck. Mark Bennett stepped up from 45m but was well wide with his long-range effort.

Glasgow have been incredibly undisciplined this season and this continued with a variety of offences, ranging from sacking the lineout, to a silly technical infringement by Adam Ashe that Hidalgo-Clyne knocked over to make the score 10-5. After this we saw the now traditional destruction of Ryan Grant by the opposition tighthead. WP Nel clearly had the better of the British & Irish Lion and hammered it home to the applause of the Edinburgh supporters.

The final act of the first half was another of the ‘Kebab Shop’ 3, Ryan Wilson, giving away a daft penalty stopping an Edinburgh maul. Hidalgo-Clyne stepped up but missed the kick wide to the right.

Half-time: Edinburgh 10-5 Glasgow

Glasgow were obviously read the riot act at half time, and came out of the blocks fast. Nakarawa, Bennett and Hogg all got the Glasgow supporters on their feet with brilliant breaks but the cutting edge was not there. Glasgow had to content themselves with another 3 points from Russell on 48 minutes to bring the game to 10-8.

Ross Ford had been busy in the loose, reminding everyone of his former back row roots, and he did well to earn his side another shot at the posts with some great breakdown work. Hidalgo-Clyne delivered the points to make it 13-8 but Glasgow came to life from this and a succession of penalties 5m out should probably have seen a man in the bin for Edinburgh. They survived and Russell knocked over the 3.

Glasgow again continued to undo all their decent work, when Puafisi decided to ignore the obvious call to not engage an Edinburgh maul. Fusaro rattled round the back giving the ref the easiest offside call of his career. Hidalgo-Clyne completed the punishment and Edinburgh looked good for their 5 point lead.

The next passage of play could be held up at this point in the season as a shining example of the Glasgow weaknesses. Two high tackles on the trot, first from Naiyaravaro and then Favaro, saw Edinburgh with a lineout on the Glasgow 5m. A simple catch and drive blasted the Glasgow maul defence to pieces and John Hardie came up holding the ball with something resembling a grin on his battered face. Hidalgo-Clyne continued his fine kicking form with the extra 2 points to take his personal tally to 13. Glasgow will be extremely disappointed to concede another try like this and with Racing 92 and Northampton to come in the European Champions Cup, Dan McFarland will need to earn his corn in the next few weeks.

Glasgow had one last chance to get a losing bonus point, but a brave tackle from Tom Brown on Naiyarovoro stopped the move. Brown was checked for a head injury and allowed to continue – before going off after the next play with suspected concussion. Not the best from the medical staff as he was clearly dazed after the initial contact with 135kgs of Fijian but his bravery summed up the desire of Edinburgh.

Simply put, they wanted this more than Glasgow

SRBlog Man of the Match: The official MotM was John Hardie and it is hard to argue. His physical, abrasive performance caused no end of issue for the Glasgow backline. Honourable mentions to Mark Bennett, who looked extremely dangerous with ball in hand, and WP Nel, who destroyed the Glasgow scrum.


Edinburgh Rugby: Jack Cuthbert; Dougie Fife, Michael Allen, Matt Scott, Tom Brown; Phil Burleigh, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; Rory Sutherland, Ross Ford, WP Nel, Anton Bresler, Alex Toolis, Mike Coman (CAPTAIN), John Hardie and Cornell Du Preez.

Replacements: Neil Cochrane (for Ford 66’), Allan Dell, John Andress, Ben Toolis (for A Toolis 59’), Jamie Ritchie, Sean Kennedy (for Hidalgo-Clyne 70’), Greig Tonks and Andries Strauss.

Glasgow Warriors: Stuart Hogg; Taqele Naiyarovoro, Mark Bennett, Peter Horne(CAPTAIN), Tommy Seymour; Finn Russell, Grayson Hart; Ryan Grant, Fraser Brown, Sila Puafisi, Leone Nakarawa, Tim Swinson, Ryan Wilson, Chris Fusaro and Adam Ashe.

Replacements: James Malcolm (for Brown 73’), Gordon Reid (for Grant 56’), Zander Fagerson (for Puafisi 62’), Greg Peterson (for Swinson 62’), Simone Favaro (for Fusaro 62’), Ali Price (for Hart 56’), Sam Johnson (for Horne 67’) and Lee Jones.

9 Responses

  1. Great result for Edinburgh. Hardie looking on fire. Scott as well coming into a bit of form. Exiles doing well, Maitland, Cowan, Denton and Taylor all on winning teams and Visser & Laidlaw played their part in a cracker. Bit worried about the form of the Glasgow backs, Seymour,Hogg and Russell look a bit out of sorts…

    1. I could not agree more , the pleasing thing for Scotland was Hardie and Scott however the Glasgow backs were well out of it and come to that so were the forwards. I personally am happy just to see Scotland competing, however prefer to see Pro 12 success and enjoy the games through to the finals.

      Glasgow are not working well enough together. Edinburgh played to their strengths and were always the team in control.Glasgow could not get any continuity or flow. The final breakdowns were for daft errors , knock on’s , accidental off side, Nakarawa off loading balls going at the speed of a bullet and big T was too easily snuffed out.

      9 points short of the leader and 5 away from a play off. Glasgow are under performing.

  2. Sorry to hear about injuries ending Roddy Grant’s playing career. I hope things work out for him in the future.

  3. Du Preez was the pick of the forwards for me, more so than Hardie. I look forward to him winning a few Scottish caps.
    No doubt that Edinburgh deserved their win, but I think Glasgow will reverse the score this weekend.
    It is worrying that there are really no Glasgow players who could be considered to be ‘in form’at the moment, and Gordon Reid has to start ahead of Grant for me after another strong show at he weekend.
    That said, I’m more interested in Glasgow getting a result against Racing than Edinburgh.
    This doesn’t look very likely, given the form of both sides.

    1. Gordon Reid is the most consistent of the looseheads and I felt more confident when he arrived on the park. I am just not sure how you can get Grant back to an acceptable standard without game time and that might be the issue. In fairness WPN is a tough opponent and I expected him to take more from the scrum.

      With regret Glasgow are chasing the pro 12 now and the weather conditions are proving to put a dampener (pun intended) on flowing rugby. So careless penalties tend to count, they cannot afford to let sides get away from them. When an improving side (like Edinburgh) get a gap in the score , they tend to defend it and in these conditions the weather plays its part in halting the glasgow momentum. The internal mind talk is not overcoming the frutration and you could just see an Edinburgh win coming.

      Good for Scottish rugby , but Edinburgh are not capable of defending a top 4 place and Glasgow while capable , have so much to do to get there.

      I could do with a few paper talk statisticians talking me out of this , so come on , how do Glasgow get a top 4 slot now ?

      grrrrrrr. Just having a hogmany growl

      1. Glasgow are 5pts behind Ulster for the fourth play off place with a game in hand. We are just reaching the half way mark in the league programme, so the play-offs are still very achievable. Obviously that’s not going to happen unless they can arrest their erratic and poor form, but they’re good enough to get results home or away against any side in the league so it certainly isn’t past them yet.

        Against Edinburgh on Monday the weather was cold but crisp and dry on match day. Glasgow’s rugby wasn’t flowing because they couldn’t hold onto the ball for more than a handful of phases due to failing to protect the ball in contact and forcing a wide game whilst being pulverised at the breakdown. No surprises that they’ve beefed up the pack for the return game.

        It’ll be interesting to see if Edinburgh can defend their play-off position. Sean Lineen took Glasgow into the play offs twice by making them hard to beat and Edinburgh have conceded fewer tries than anyone else in the league and have probably the league’s strongest scrum. On the evidence of Monday, their back line is starting to click too – even if they lack a clinical edge or outstanding threat that Visser used to provide. I think they’re good enough to do it and the race for top 4 is going to be incredibly tight. I don’t think there is a pack of teams head and shoulders above the others who’ll pull away like last year.

      2. From the same 9 fixtures Glasgow have only taken 2 points less this season than they did last season. Form needs to improve and how they go during the Six Nations is a worry but top 4 is not out of the question by any stretch of the imagination.

      3. totm – no idea where you get that table comparison from however I will take your word for that. Good response FF I am feeling better already.

        Glasgow are sitting on 26 points and last year finished with 75, so they need 49 points from 13 games which is 12 four point wins and no bonusses. (Ulster came 4th with 69 so they could still lose 2 games and be top 4 assuming last year is comparrible). Feeling better already, however were they ever 7th in the table ? and they now have an extra away game against Edinburgh this weekend. Pants. Glasgow need big wins and max points sooner rather than later.

        As FF says it is going to be incredibly tight.I can see some of the leaders being less impacted by the 6N and this being entertaining till the end.

        Indcidently, Edinburgh were by far the better team last week and deserved their win.

        Happy new year…

  4. More Edinburgh subs were used than team listing shows.
    Jamie Ritchie came on at around 72 minutes and was on for a few minutes while Hardie was being welded back together.
    Pretty sure Tonks was on the pitch by the end too.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion