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Glasgow 11-14 Edinburgh

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

Controversially switched at the last minute to a rainy BT Murrayfield, leg 2 of the 1872 Cup saw the Warrior Nation doing their best to make it a vocal “home” support with the SRU’s efforts to keep it a Glasgow fixture in more than name meaning some 57,000 empty seats held back.

Glasgow started in lively fashion with plenty of offloading despite the conditions and earned themselves an early attacking lineout but Fraser Brown overthrew to nobody in what was to be the first of many lineout failures on both sides. Not a great day for hookers, with Ross Ford sitting out a large chunk of the game through injury and Brown later being hooked just when he was exerting some influence in the second half.

Glasgow were at least sharp enough on the deck to earn a first kickable penalty back quickly, and Duncan Weir opened the scoring.

As well as the key battle at hooker, scrum half Ali Price was looking to impress but knocked on trying to get the ball away from a great attacking position just as Glasgow were building, and the game reverted to a series of fluffed up lineouts before Sam Hidalgo-Clyne evened things up with a penalty.

Glasgow worked through the phases reasonably well, but there was always a moment such as the one when the ball popped loose for Edinburgh, Cornell du Preez hoofed a clearance kick downfield and Mark Bennett was swamped by Edinburgh chasers, giving Hidalgo-Clyne another easy 3 points. The “home” team were more willing to play the rugby but for every sidestepping, jinking run there was a misguided hoof into touch to fizzle the moves out.

Finally though Glasgow broke through after sustained phases and huge, incisive carrying from Jonny Gray and Chris Fusaro before Price popped it to Bennett for the try.

The closing minutes of the half saw an excellent Duncan Weir kick from hand undo the lively Michael Allen’s great break at the other end and Glasgow piling on pressure for another try. Looking to make an impression, Fraser Brown looked to have scored a very handy try until the TMO spotted him holding back defenders seconds before it. The try cancelled, Glasgow had the lead but little else.

Half-time: Glasgow 8-6 Edinburgh

The second half started in far less inspiring fashion with Allen again impressing during a brief Edinburgh breakout but Hidalgo-Clyne missing a kick and neither side really taking hold of the game. Glasgow had more of the possession initially while Edinburgh were looking a little ragged and constantly offside, giving Weir another pop at goal for 11-6.

Ragged though is pretty much where Edinburgh do their business these days and when even the hands of Leone Nakarawa are spilling ball, the hope of some exciting rugby from either side vanished as it degenerated into a tussle for precious league points. With the margin so narrow the Cup was all but gone for Glasgow with quarter of an hour to go as Sam Hidalgo-Clyne pulled their lead down to 2 with another penalty.

Edinburgh were themselves keen for the win, cup be damned, and spurned the points on a couple of occasions. Their faith was rewarded when – in very similar circumstances to Glasgow’s try – they battered through multiple phases before Phil Burleigh took it round the corner. Hogg went too high in the tackle and when he was swatted off, (just back from injury) Pete Murchie couldn’t keep him out. Injury was added to insult when Pete Horne was taken off injured in the same time.

Momentum firmly with Edinburgh, Glasgow started to chase the game too hard and we all know that when Scottish teams do that, knock-ons happen. Fitzgibbon gifted them a penalty which might have been kickable but Weir put it into the corner and set the “home” team up for an assault on Edinburgh’s line that went through two spells of 12+ phases. It was incredibly short-sighted of Grayson Hart and Duncan Weir not to test out Big Taqele against Damien Hoyland, and when he did come looking for work (as Scottish wingers must) there wasn’t enough space to get him up to speed.

With Edinburgh quite happy to tackle all day, it was almost inevitable that the ball would disappear into a pile, the ref would whistle up and Glasgow’s incredibly frustrating season would continue, while Edinburgh’s hard won, un-glamorous success continues.

15 Responses

  1. Oh dear. White line fever from the Glasgow forwards from what I saw, Far too narrow an attack and too easy to defend. Although I accept that the conditions were horrible and that passing the ball could have lead to knock-ons, it was still a ‘grunty’ one dimensional attack, against a side who thrive in that dimension.
    Positives from the game? The Glasgow pack played very well for the first hour. The scrum was strong for an hour and had a slight nudge on. Thought that they lost control of the scrum when Reid and Fagerson were subbed.
    The lineout was poor, but it was a difficult night for hookers in the rain.
    Ali Price was good and his service was quick. Gordon Reid was very good in the scrum against a tough opponent, and the forwards generally were an improvement on last week.
    Negatives. The tackling of some of the backs let the side down.
    Strangely, Glasgow are only 8 points behind the current leaders with a game in hand,so all is not lost.
    Let’s see what they can do against Racing this weekend.
    They could do with some decent weather to allow them to play a more expansive game against a very strong side.

    1. It is a bizarrely tight season, without any truly outstanding league leaders.

      Glasgow could lose their game in hand away to Leinster and still only be five points behind the fourth play-off spot. I think if they are to get anything from this season it’ll be by sneaking into the play-offs and becoming the first side to win an away semi-final. It has to happen sometime and Glasgow are far superior to what they are showing now. The worry is that they’ll need to take a lot of points off their play-off rivals and so far their form doesn’t look like turning a corner with too many leading figures playing poorly.

      Edinburgh look like finally getting some coherence in the back line and will put out a strong side throughout the 6N. This is a huge opportunity for them to nail a playoff place and return to the HC. Burleigh might not be a test standard 10 but he has been doing the business recently.

  2. It was a very bad game. Devoid of basic skills including ball retention. Warriors never looked liked winning and need some serious fixes for their set piece

    To see both sides throwing to noone at the back and other badly failed lineouts is unacceptable in the professional game

    Credit to Edinburgh in as much as they came to slow the game down and grind it out but as a showcase for the best of Scottish rugby it was an abject failure

  3. Grim. From both sides. Glasgow have been poor all season. Scarlets at home aside, we look burnt out and our own basic errors are killing us. Edinburgh’s defence was good but Glasgow have definitely lost the spark we had last season. I think missing Pyrgos in particular isn’t helping and we need a bit more control at 9. Having said that Blair has been good when he’s played. Agree with Angus, as a showcase for Scottish rugby it was a poor advert. Doesn’t bode well for 6N.

  4. I think we need a bit of a reality check here guys – there were a number of mitigating factors that went into both games. Firstly familiarity….in a World cup year, many of the guys from Edi and Glw have spent more time with each other than they have their own families. They trained long and hard together all summer, so to see many of them almost cancel each other out is no surprise … and in actual fact bodes well for Scotland as it shows that they have the tactical sense to understand how to shut down an opponent that you know well. This probably applies in line outs more than anywhere – it’s no surprise that when Gray came back into the team for the second game, he had Ross ford’s timing nailed and was competing for every ball – just think how many Ross ford throws he jumped for during the year. Brown overthrew 1 line-out on Sat, and that was largely due to the fact that Wilson was slow off the ground – why was he slow off the ground??….watch the replay, it’s because Hardie knew exactly where it was going and had a hold of his jersey – so again, familiarity with each others patterns and timing caused issues that another opponent would be less likely to be able to exploit. We always thought scrum time would be a challenge for Glasgow, but it wasn’t as bad as many feared. I think the fact that Dickinson was out helped Glasgow a lot as the Edinburgh front row of Dick, Ford and WP are greater as a unit than the sum of their parts – plit the trio and they are less effective. Glasgow didn’t get hammered in scrums in the first game, but certainly improved in the second game by mixing up selection and being able to bring Gray back into the boiler room.

    Secondly, the conditions – were any of you actually at the games – the weather was horrendous – the fact that we saw any running rugby at all was a miracle – you only have to watch the ‘highlights’ from the AVIVA this week to see how other top tier teams were dealing with the same sort of conditions…I think perhaps 1, maybe 2 tries scored by backs in a whole weekend – everything else up the jumper forward stuff (proper rugby).

    Finally, when criticising decision making in the last 5 mins, we need to look at what the players were facing on the pitch. Glasgow had lost their midfield, so moving the ball wide was not the percentage call as handling was already difficult, but exacerbated by a makeshift backline which was a man down meaning trying to move the ball wide would be slow and leave players isolated. Edinburgh’s tight defence was excellent, and I think we’re better to focus on that positive, rather than any perceived failing of Glasgow’s decision making.

    1. Andy, while I appreciate you want to be upbeat I believe the reality is different

      Familiarity – Yes they all know each other but the 2 sides have different coaches and totally different styles of game so as far as cancelling each other out goes I refute that.

      Lineouts – Firstly good for Hardie he should be doing that at every lineout if he can get away with it. As for him knowing where the ball was going before the throw well has he broken the code or has he studied his opposite number for tells the way Matfield used to do?

      The problems I referred to in the lineout are bad options like throwing to the back 10m out and throws going to noone because of no jump or a mistimed jump. That is internal to a team

      Conditions – these are professional athletes who should be able to perform their practiced skills in all conditions. Happy to dig out video of the NRL down under when it is bucketing down and their skills are as if the ball is as dry as the day it came out of the wrapper

      The 2 main issues I have had with Glasgow (haven’t seen and Edinburgh games until this last one) this year (apart from the scrums)are their shocking disciplinary record and their failure to retain the ball in contact – both of which are not unique to this martch

      They show glimpses of last years flair but so far that is all they have been. I hope with all my heart they can get back on track with 15 players on the pitch for 80 minutes before they lose the majority of their squad for the 6 nations

      For my one game viewing Edinburgh they appear solid but lack flair. Now I am more than happy to put that down to this being where they are at in their rebuilding because the first thing you look to sort is the defence and I believe they have certainly done that. I hope that now they appear to have that in order they can move on to being even a little bit expansive in attack

    2. I suppose the Welsh and the Irish will be the same position when they play each other ? They also know each other well which also limits their ability to win and win with bonus points etc. So I am not buying that.

      None of them have played with big T yet he was nailed in both games.

      While the post is highlighting some positive elements and I have no problem with that, the facts are the facts and the table never lies, they are 8th, yes 8th.

      Glasgow have a game in hand however the gap is widening and they have it all to do against the following , albeit, subjective conditions:

      Glasgow will lose more players than their opposition to the 6N. So the backup squad will need to pull together and quickly. The opening to the season during the RWC may just have been a warm up for them, I hope.

      I am wondering how the final few weeks of the season will go . Who might sit down to whom among the other nations who have 4 teams to play with ( they wont sit down, they will just put in the development players etc if they are out of contention for the top 4 and allow their countrymen to land the place).

      Back to the last game, yes bad conditions but what do we expect at this stage in the season. If we had some momentum we might be able to ride the conditions better but this is par for the course at this time of the year.

      Peterson in my opinion made a big difference in the scrum and Reid had another good game. Ryan Grant is well off form, this needs to be addressed and quickly. Jonny Gray , well , he is looking every bit the captain who could lead a pro 12 winning side, just not this one and not this season IMO.

      Too much and too late.

      The irony of it all is that Right now DTH Van Der Merve is on target for a back to back pro 12.

  5. How can you refute that they cancelled each other out when that’s exactly what they did – the games were tight, attritional matches that could have gone either way – Edinburgh not able to assert their forward dominance that has been to the fore in their other league matches, and Glasgow unable to recycle quick ball to utilise a more talented backline – is it it really being a hopeless optimist to think that this could be the result of each team employing tactics designed to counteract the others strengths? Are you guys seriously telling me that you don’t think that training and playing together under the same coaches, in the same squad for 7 months out of the past 12 doesn’t give the Glasgow and Edinburgh players in the Scotland squad a unique familiarity and insight into each others strengths and weaknesses? The fixture I’m afraid is a victim of the current system with majority of players in the squad coming from just these 2 clubs. You often see the same after a lions tour, suddenly some of the pre-tour stars are less effective – why? because opposition have worked with them at close quarters on tour and understand better how to take them out of a game.

    Re the Lineout – I reckon that when the teams realised they were both using ‘Black White Soup’ they knew it was going to be a tough day at the office… seriously though, it’s been years since teams at that level shouted lineout codes at the hooker – it’s all now about specific pre-defined plays in specific areas of the field – they huddle together, call the play – quietly share that with the hooker then off they go. All lineout jumpers have a ‘tell’, but more obviously so do the lifters. The closer you have worked with a lifter, it follows that the better you understand his ‘tells’.

    And while we’re at it, what makes you think that throwing to the back of a lineout 10m out is a bad call – the call was fine, the execution is the issue isn’t it? The most effective lineout attacks are from back ball – the closer to the front you throw, the easier it is for the opposition to counteract any lineout drive. if you have superiority in the forwards and can make that work, then fine – but where you have parity or are overpowered, you need to look for the higher risk/reward options – and as i said, they would have worked if the opposition hadn’t competed so effectively.

    I agree however to some degree with you’re comments on Glasgow, however good players don’t suddenly become bad and you seem very keen to write them off. Earlier in the season, with less experienced players making the step up, discipline was indeed shocking, although I think it’s been improving over last 3 or 4 games – would be interesting to see some stats on that. Losing the ball in contact as well I have to agree with, although it’s probably a result of trying to force the same fast off-loading game as last year with players who are not quite at the races – either because of inexperience, or more likely due to game fatigue – and lets not kid ourselves, most of the Glasgow Team have been playing rugby non stop since summer 2014 – and for some longer than that – we shouldn’t underestimate the mental impact this has on players – this season was always going to be a struggle, and anything better than mid table might be seen by some outside of Glasgow as a triumph give the pressure placed on us by International Call ups – but you’re right, we’ve come to expect success, and when it’s not coming we can either choose to get behind them or write them off – you’ve made your choice, I’ve made mine.

    1. Lets look at some facts and then apply the theory

      Glasgow The defending champions are 8th in the table , a fact.

      The players do know their Edinburgh Peers well from their Scotland squads, a reasonable assumption and theory.

      However the same reasonable assumption could be said of the Irish and Welsh Squads. At this time 4 Irish teams and 2 Welsh teams sit ahead of Glasgow , a fact.

      So if we accept it is a factor how can we deny that the same ‘familiarity’ theory is not applying to the other pro 12 teams.

      Assuming familiarity is a factor then we must assume it applies to the opposition.

      However the facts show Glasgow are behind 100% of the Irish sides and 50% of the welsh sides in the table.

      Actually if the familarity assumption is accepted then Glasgow and Edinburgh are at a distinct advantage as they are only handicapped by the the familiarity issue with one other team – not three such is the situation in Ireland and Wales.

      The table does not consider theory, weather, or even whether it was close , it never lies.

      Before anyone points out the game in hand lets deal with it now. Glasgow have a home game in hand against Leinster. Let’s assume Glasgow take a full 5 points and Leinster get no bonus from the game. Leinster are 8 points ahead of Glasgow right now, Glasgow are short 3 points therefore even taking the maximum points from this game , we are dependent on Leinster losing 4 points elsewhere to get ahead of them.

      As fans we should be disappointed , we are not being disloyal stating our disappointment , it is very frustrating to see Glasgow failing to string a game together and in 8th place in the Pro12.

      if we lose our passion , we are not fit to be fans so all comments are welcome and valid.

      1. The ‘familiarity’ is more diluted in Welsh and Irish regions, but to a large extent is also evident in that one irish side seldom has an easy ride against another Irish side – ditto for Welsh teams.

        Glasgow currently sit on 27 pts, with the Leinster game in hand – only 2 pts worse off than we were after the corresponding fixtures last year. Win that Leinster game and we’re joint 4th place, with games against all of the teams above us still to come (with exception of Edi) – so not hard to see why we are far from out of it and our destiny is in our own hands.

        Personally, I’d love another crack at Edinburgh, ideally in the final at BTM – third time lucky??

      2. We would all like another crack at Edinburgh , but the facts are we have lost. In fact Glasgow have lost the last 3 times against Edinburgh.

        We shall have to wait and see however when the 6 nations squad ride out of town, the remainder have all to do. Those fine margins we all talk about just got finer. Glasgow need wins and bonus points,

      3. I am interetsed in the statistics that Glasgow are only 2 points behind where they were at this stage in the season last year ?

        Where can I feel reassured and see that , with my own eyes?

        Right now Glasgow have played 10 matches and have 27 Points. Last year they finsihed 22 games with 75 points. That suggests that at the half way stage (11 games) they would have 37.5 points. (10 behind last years half way stage)

        So even if you have bagged a full 5 for the game against 2nd top Leinster (but not for long , they will be top next week according to the forecasts) Glasgow will be on 32 points , which is 5.5 points behind where they were last season.

        That is a lot of points with only 11 games to go however not impossible – 11 wins is 44 points .

      4. Apologies, maths let me down – we took 32 points from the corresponding fixtures last year compared to 27 points this year – so I guess you could define our world cup impact as being 5 pts

  6. Andy N – Good points and well made. We’re not drowning in our tears yet, but we’re dissapointed that we didn’t manage to beat Edinburgh.
    They’re clearly not firing on all cylinders and for he reasons you and everyone has mentioned.
    Both Edinburgh games have been close, both also AWAY from home.
    The only real home games lost are Llaneli and Northampton, both of which were early season.
    They’ll have to find a way to play better in the arm wrestling Euro matches, which they invariably manage to lose, albeit in tight games.
    I’d rather see the attacking Glasgow, than a big Aviva/top 14 type team built only for power, but lacking other skills, and shit to watch.

    The conditions are also underplayed. Heavy rain is a great equaliser and suited Edinburgh. I believe Glasgow will play better once he weather improves. Unfortunatey, it might be too late by then.
    I see Racing are at the top of the French league after beating Bordeaux at home.
    Always the optomist, I think Racing will attempt to overpower us, will underestimate Glasgow and be surprised by the pack.
    Once we’ve survived the opening 15 minute onslought, our fast counter-attacking rugby will kick in and see us win by 5 points.
    My caveat is that it isn’t raining with a bog of a pitch, otherwise I might change my mind.

    1. Don’t think I have ever heard anyone say that rain and a bog of a pitch would suit a French side better than a Scottish one LOL Changed days indeed :)

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