Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


1872 Cup: Glasgow 18-29 Edinburgh

Glasgow v Edinburgh
Graphic © Scottish Rugby Blog

The 1872 Cup deciding leg, and a change from the norm: no snow on the ground, a packed out sunny Scotstoun and a perfect pitch to play on. It was the last Glasgow game of Gregor Townsend’s reign, the 100th of Stuart Hogg’s career, and there were plenty of players looking to show the new Scotland boss their skills.

All of that aside, Glasgow were clear favourites to win this game. Although their season wasn’t the glorious sendoff for Toony they would have hoped for, it still went in an opposite direction to Edinburgh’s.

So it was that it was just under a minute before Edinburgh conceded the first penalty and Finn Russell kicked it against the wind.

The rare sight of a Scottish referee in the shape of Mike Adamson – neutral in this fixture (he played for Glasgow) – viewed things Glasgow’s way at the first scrum too but some strong running out wide from the visitors in red gave Duncan Weir a penalty of his own minutes later. He chipped it gently but the wind soared it over the stand, some indication of the kicking conditions despite the sunshine.

The opening exchanges were similarly to and fro, both sides finding space out wide but giving little ground through the middle. Edinburgh looked to offload more in contact, while Glasgow played their slightly more cautious – some would say judicious or patient – style.

As befits a derby game, there was a little spot of handbags on 13 minutes (Hardie possibly the villain but there was nothing given) and Weir, who knows the ground so well, used the wind to move his adopted home into the lead.

Glasgow took just three points on their first real foray into the visitor’s 22, Edinburgh’s harassing defence wise to the threats outside Russell and shutting them down quickly. They couldn’t resist getting on the wrong side of Adamson at the tackle area though, whether on the ground or through some borderline high/no-arm challenges.

The penalties were mounting up, and after successfully repelling two or three further attacks by the home side, Ross Ford was sent to the bin for another high tackle. Edinburgh managed the next ten minutes very well almost until the last possible moment, when Sam Hidalgo-Clyne was sent to join Ford for slowing the ball after Ali Price broke from a quick tap penalty.

That gave Glasgow one chance with a two man advantage but Finn Russell knocked on after jinking through a half gap and Edinburgh scrambled it clear to restore Ford and John Hardie – who had to sit out the sin bin as Cochrane deputised in the scrum.

The almost inevitable try from Glasgow came on the stroke of half time, two of the excellent second rows on the pitch combining with a flip Townsend would have been proud of – Scott Cummings putting Jonny Gray through the gap. The Glasgow captain looked around in vain for someone to pass to but backed himself and tumbled over the line for the try.

Half-time: Glasgow 11-9 Edinburgh

Duncan Weir, filling in at scrum-half while Hidalgo Clyne was off, showed where his loyalties now lie with an intrepid penalty into the wind to retake the lead minutes into the second half. The stocky standoff cut a determined figure all game, and kept the errors that have frustrated so much this season to a minimum.

Glasgow almost had a try on 45 mins when Lee Jones went over in the corner. The TMO ruled there was a foot in touch and this tetchy and tight affair continued to smoulder without fully bursting into life.

Both sides might have felt that Adamson missed things but as befits a regular cutting his teeth on the IRB Sevens Series he was willing to let the game flow. Edinburgh were starting to get the rub of the green. Weir kicked another tricky penalty on 53 minutes and then sparked a breakout with some quick hands to keep the momentum with the visitors.

At that point the score was close at 36-27 on aggregate and things got even closer as the fleet-footed Damien Hoyland danced through the Glasgow defence (proprietor: S. Hogg) and the despairing tackle of Matt Fagerson to score a try that put Edinburgh well in the lead in the game. They were only a couple of points off retaining the 1872 Cup, something that had seemed all but impossible on the form book.

Glasgow, as they have done when faced with that other team that plays in red (as an example), went a little into their shells and started conceding penalties but an injection of replacements on the hour mark thankfully reduced that tendency. They woke up when Tommy Seymour cut a classic Seymour line, stepping through the defence but he was held up over the line with Hoyland wrapped around him.

The home crowd didn’t like missing out on the try but it sparked them to life and from the very next scrum, a nicely delayed pop pass from Russell gave Hogg just enough space to scamper over for the try and bring the margin back to 3 points. It put Glasgow 7 points clear for the cup but they wouldn’t have wanted to lose Townsend’s last game in charge, so the newly golden-haired Sean Lamont was brought off the bench to sort things out.

It was also perhaps the reasoning behind the decision for Russell to kick a penalty to draw level, but he missed it.

At the next opportunity, Hogg belted it to the corner and Glasgow went in hunt of the win. As they had all game, Edinburgh made things tricky for Glasgow with a combination of linespeed and gang-tackling, and the Warriors were architects of their own misadventure, Jonny Gray caught offside.

Edinburgh marched up the pitch, possibly fancying a repeat of their late Dragons revival last weekend. Glasgow looked like they had managed to hold their line but they needed to keep the ball and return it deep into Edinburgh’s half. Finn Russell had played a very consistent if unspectacular game, but a wide pass from the Scotland standoff above Tommy Seymour’s head saw the British and Irish Lion bundled into touch for an Edinburgh lineout.

That was the only opening they needed.

They went for a catch and drive – playing to their strengths with Ben Toolis imperious at the lineout – before spinning it wide for another Glasgow reject, Glenn Bryce, who stepped Stuart Hogg for the try.

Weir kicked the con to put the result to bed against all expectation of an away win, but just losing the cup on an aggregate score of 43-41.

With the win arguably the most important thing, Edinburgh and beleaguered coach Duncan Hodge will take that and gladly. Glasgow will have to console themselves at retaining the 1872 Cup. Understandably, they had to grin and bear the trophy “celebrations” afterwards, which were subdued. With so many farewells from both clubs, there would have been mixed feelings all round at that result.

Plenty food for thought for Dave Rennie and Richard Cockerill next season.

Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU)

Attendance: 7,351

SRBlog Man of the Match: In a game of match-ups with implications at international level, Ben Toolis, Scott Cummings and Damien Hoyland all did their cause no harm. Hoyland made the difference for Edinbgurgh in the second half while Duncan Weir kept them in the game in the first. The Edinburgh back row were ferocious but for me Ben Toolis set the tone as he has all season – even if his team have often not followed his lead. Cockerill could do a lot worse than to give Gilchrist a break and make Toolis or Watson the captain.

18 Responses

  1. Congrats Edinburgh., good defence & fast rugby won that game. Some of the Edinburgh guys should be going to Australia. Glasgow looked a bit too casual today & lack of pace really blunts Johnny G “go forward”.

  2. Anyway, good to see Hogg and Seymour emerge unscathed. As well as the others we need for the Southern Hemisphere tournament. Hope Hamish’s injury is minor enough to mean he will tour for us and – dare I say it – be available as a call up proper open side for the Lions should they need one who’s not Welsh.

  3. If Russell had kicked his kicks, different game, however, he did not, very frustrating! When a team drop to 13 you need to lamp the points on. Very disappointed in Glasgow. There is always a positive, his name was Cummings.

    As for Edinburgh, well led and took the limited chances they had, played with 14 much of the game and won.

    Definitely not just the end of the season for Scottish Rugby, it is the end of a chapter.

  4. So it turns out it isn’t just the Irish refs that play a “homer”! How Glasgow kept 15 on the pitch and Edinburgh got 2 yellows is a mystery.

    Well played and gutting not to have nicked the trophy at the end. The hope for better from Edinburgh for next season is already bubbling…

    Good luck to the boys who go on tour, either with Scotland or with/to the Lions. I hope you all get through unscathed and are back for a stellar 2017/18 season with Scotland and Toonie – first win over ABs and a Triple Crown would do nicely!

  5. At the end its a bit of a disappointing season from Glasgow. Yes they got the 1872 cup back and made the quarters in Europe but its their worst league performance in several years. Difficult to put your finger on exactly what has gone wrong. Glasgow struggle without a big ball carrier and they’ve missed someone like Nakarawa or Strauss. Several times Edinburgh stopped the carrier behind the gainline. Glasgow has struggled against an aggressive rush defence for a while now. Defence hasn’t been as good this season as the last few years similarly the opposition has sussed out more of the Glasgow attack plays. I think Glasgow have missed a really vocal leader on the park since Kellock retired. Finally the handling skills have dropped a little with balls that would have stuck a couple of years ago going to ground, players over running, etc. Its a good time for Rennie to come in and challenge them all again. Still great to watch though!

  6. Agree about Dunbar, think he’s lost a yard of pace too, looks a bit sluggish.

    Edinburgh lose to Zebre (at home), Treviso amongst many other losses this season but only lose to Glasgow by 2 points over 2 games and beat Harlequins a couple of times. It’s clear that there has been slackness through most of the season and hopefully yesterday’s determination is a sign of things to come under Cockerill.

  7. Many thoughts about yesterday’s game, many of which can be summed up in one word: frustration.

    Frustration that Edinburgh found the fight to play for 80 minutes. A season of despair ends with a bright display that leaves everyone wondering what’s been going on. The message has clearly come from Cockers to shape up or shift out.

    Frustration that Glasgow couldn’t make their season go on for one more game. They were poor, there can be no disguising that. Some of those we expected more of finished the season in a manner that it’s been heading since the Saracens game.

    Now the main moan is out of the way, some highlights:

    1. Toolis must be due his chance for Scotland. Another dominant display in the line out.

    2. SHC looks like he’s finding his mojo again and the partnership with Weir will get a chance next season. Still think Edinburgh need more depth and quality in both positions, but they showed they can’t be dismissed.

    3. Hoyland played his way onto the Scotland tour, probably at the expense of Lee Jones. I thought Kinghorn also showed that he’s worth taking for the experience.

    4. Jamie Ritchie and Matt Fagerson both showed that Scotland’s back row will continue to be our deepest pool of talent for many years to come.

  8. For me that was Warriors’ worst performance (with their internationals) of the season. Several of the players (e.g. Dunbar, Gray, Reid) look like they might benefit much more from a break than a Scotland tour. Midfield is not clicking. Hogg and Seymour (and possibly Brown) were the only ones playing near their best towards the end of the season.
    I agree that several Edinburgh players showed up well esp. Hoyland and Ritchie. However, last year there is no way Duncy would have kicked the ball dead unintentionally twice or thrown a pass behind his teammate – he looks out of sorts.

    1. Sorry, but we need to give up on Duncy as far as Scotland and even Edinburgh are concerned. He hasn’t got it, for sure at Test level in a world 5th ranking side, and never will have. Hoping he will come good is like the forlorn hope we had about many members of the Test side from early 2000s to 2014. They just weren’t good enough. It’s really important for Scotland and for Finn now to unearth from somewhere a complement/rival to him at 10. That’s not and never will be Duncan Weir, so let’s take a risk this summer and in the AIs and look for that other 10. Got to be ruthless here.

      1. We haven’t got enough depth to ‘give up’ on players. Weir comfortably outshone Russell at the weekend. Who else would you pick? Hastings has looked unconvincing for the small cameos hes made for Bath.

      2. Agree with you MK. Hastings is probably at least a couple of years off starting a meaningful test for Scotland. His appearances for the u-20s have been patchy, notwithstanding his obvious talent. Henderson (or Eastgate or even Baggot) is even further behind an they have more or less no exposure to pro-rugby. For the next couple of years we have Russell, Horne, Weir, Jackson, Heathcote. Only Russell has given anything like a consistent standard of performance at test level but otherwise the cupboard is bare.

      3. I know Peter Horne at 10 has his critics too, but I think he can do a better job than Duncy in that position, as a back up for but not necessarily a rival to Finn. Not ideal, as he doesn’t very often start at 10, but a better prospect imho than Weir until or unless someone emerges from somewhere. Agree the SQ 10 hinterland is not strong at the moment.

      4. Maybe throw Hastings in the deep end on this tour down under and leave Weir at home.

        Harsh call but he’s not at top international standard, despite his impressive 1872 form.

        Let’s see if Hastings has what it takes. Hopefully Townsend and Rennie will find that balance between exposure in high pressure situations and hands on nurturing.

      5. Until Hastings is playing regularly he shouldn’t be lobbed into a test squad. Personally I reckon Josh Henderson is the better young ten. I’d hope Hastings and Hendo get equal time for Glasgow when Russell isn’t available. No point losing either player like we lost Hutton thru lack of playing and developing them

  9. I agree 100% with JohnMc, I spent ages trying to tell myself “Weir brings a different dimension”, “he can kick us to where we want to be”, “he’s a great kicker” but constantly being disappointed @ his performances. He should have been released to further his development in England / France & Edinburgh should have signed a 10 capable of playing the way Edinburgh / Scotland must play.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion