Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


PRO14 Round 21: Edinburgh v Glasgow (1872 Cup Pt III)

Finn Russell
Finn Russell grapples with Jaco van der Walt - pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

Considering the blinding unbeaten start to Glasgow’s season, if Edinburgh win the third deciding leg of the 1872 Cup on Saturday both teams could finish the regular season with records that read: played 21, won 15.

It’s a testament to the capital side’s renaissance under Richard Cockerill that this is even a possibility given how bleak the outlook was at the tail end of last season, and marks it as a challenge not to be taken lightly by Glasgow especially as they are nominally away now that Edinburgh once again call Murrayfield home.

There will be a sizeable group of Glasgow fans travelling, as well as many of the players familiar with the environs in general and the pitch in particular, so Edinburgh will be hoping for a decent support of their own who might see them into the playoff stages for the first time, as well as a return to to flight European rugby.

For them, there is plenty to play for, but for Glasgow perhaps nothing much other than some form going into their home semi-final after a late-season downturn in form.

Edinburgh have largely kept faith with the team that hammered the Scarlets second string a few weeks back with Bill Mata the only change.

Perhaps surprising is the absence of former Glasgow man Mark Bennett in midfield although he’s on the bench alongside another ex-Warrior, Duncan Weir.

Glasgow, meanwhile, boast a suitably starry backline with DTH Van Der Merwe set for his 100th appearance and Sam Johnson and Nick Grigg the go-to midfield after Huw Jones picked up a facial injury in his last game. Up front, skipper Ryan Wilson and the totemic Jonny Gray make welcome returns from injury.

Some of the matchups are hard to call. Zander Fagerson should have the edge over Jordan Lay but across the 6 front row players per squad, Edinburgh perhaps edge it, with honours fairly even in the second row. Both sides have dynamic back rows but perhaps Glasgow experience will edge it in the absence of both Hamish Watson and John Hardie from the black and red team.

Glasgow with Horne and Russell should get the nudge at half back but Van Der Walt and Hidalgo-Clyne have been impressive at points this season, with the latter still looking for a contract – Edinburgh should keep whatever offer they have on the table for him.

Out back, Stuart Hogg and Blair Kinghorn go head to head. Defence could actually be the key to who wins that one – who misses the fewest tackles.

How do you see it going?

Edinburgh: 15. Blair Kinghorn, 14. Dougie Fife, 13. James Johnstone, 12. Chris Dean, 11. Duhan van der Merwe, 10. Jaco van der Walt, 9. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; 1. Jordan Lay, 2. Stuart McInally (capt), 3. Simon Berghan, 4. Ben Toolis, 5. Grant Gilchrist, 6. Magnus Bradbury, 7. Jamie Ritchie, 8. Bill Mata.
Replacements: 16. Neil Cochrane, 17. Allan Dell, 18. WP Nel, 19. Lewis Carmichael, 20. Cornell du Preez, 21. Nathan Fowles, 22. Duncan Weir, 23. Mark Bennett.

Glasgow: 15. Stuart Hogg, 14. Tommy Seymour, 13. Nick Grigg, 12. Sam Johnson, 11. DTH van der Merwe, 10. Finn Russell, 9. George Horne, 1. Alex Allan, 2. Fraser Brown, 3. Zander Fagerson, 4. Tim Swinson, 5. Jonny Gray, 6. Matt Fagerson, 7. Callum Gibbins, 8. Ryan Wilson (capt).
Replacements: 16. George Turner, 17. Jamie Bhatti, 18. Siua Halanukonuka, 19. Rob Harley, 20. Chris Fusaro, 21. Henry Pyrgos, 22. Peter Horne, 23. Lee Jones.

Not available due to injury: Adam Ashe (ankle), Huw Jones (head/face), Oli Kebble (ankle), Paddy Kelly (ankle), Pat MacArthur (shoulder), Kiran McDonald (shoulder) and Leo Sarto (shoulder).

Saturday 28 April (kick-off 7.45pm) – live on Sky Sports Action.

PS: huge good luck to all the teams playing on Super Saturday, enjoy the day!

82 Responses

  1. Mega excited about this: first time I’ll be watching a game at Murrayfield since 2002

    Interested to see how Russell goes outside in-form Horne rather than Price, and the back row match up looks very tasty indeed. Fagerson 2 facing off against Bradbury could be particularly fun

    Edinburgh to sneak it for me if they can keep it tight until 70 minutes or so. Duncy Weir to come off the bench and do his usual crucial drop goal to seal it

    1. Beat me to it with the Weir injury time drop goal scenario ! That is, if SH-C doesn’t pass at his ankles or a yard over his head . . . .

  2. Interesting that when i do my combined XV, as a Glasgow fan, that I have more Edinburgh Players than Glasgow (7 vs 5). Just goes to show the work Cockerill has done.
    2- McInally
    3- Berghan
    4- Toolis
    5- Gray
    6- Bradbury
    7- Gibbins
    8- Mata
    9- (Either)
    10- Russell
    11- Van der Merwe :)
    12- Johnson
    13- (Equal)
    14- Seymour (Just)
    15- Kinghorn (the better Pro14 player imo)

    1. 1- Bhatti
      2- McInally
      3- Berghan
      4- Toolis
      5- Gray
      6- Bradbury
      7- Gibbins
      8- Mata
      9- Horne
      10- Russell
      11- Van der Merwe
      12- Johnson
      13- Grigg
      14- Van der Merwe
      15- Kinghorn

      Would be my team based on this season. Some close calls mind.

  3. Am i Right in saying that it’s whoever wins this wins the cup abd its not an aggregate score of all three fixtures?

    There are so many sub plots to this with the result affecting Edinburgh directly. In making the playoffs makes it a great season from not making it, being a real let down. Glasgow only lose the ability to gain any momentum for the playoffs and the 1872 cup. Had it been aggregate score then they could lose within seven win the cup and give Edinburgh what they need.

    Both teams have made it much harder for Edinburgh to make playoffs in the last few mins against Ulster. Edinburgh went for the win and threw the ball wildly to make it a five point loss rather than the three that would have sunk Ulster. Glasgow went for the impossible for no real gain which gave Ulster the fourth try and meant they hung onto hope.

    Would Glasgow be happy as a club to dump Edinburgh out at this stage? Would they rather face Ulster or Edinburgh in playoffs?

    Is there any chance of a fixed result so all parties are happy? An interesting night ahead.

    1. You are right in that this game will be the cup decider, as each team has won a game already. It just goes on results rather than scores.

      The easiest way to fix this game (not saying they will or should) is for Edinburgh to get 4 tries. The clubs could agree to let both teams get 4 tries each early, thus ensuring Edinburgh get the bonus point they need. Then start playing the game as normal from there. Game effectively starts after both teams have at least 20 points.

      Won’t happen and shouldn’t happen, but would remove that issue early.

      1. If Glasgow repeat the level of performance they produced against both Scarlets and Ulster, the game will look like a fix, even when it isn’t.

    2. Cup is on aggregate if a draw (I think)

      Outside of outright ‘fixing’, certain ‘sympathies’ to another team’s status MIGHT be tolerated…e.g. choosing not to pursue a losing bonus point killing score after 80…

      I think the league and fans (me included) would condemn strongly any perception of a Glasgow or SRU attempt to “work the system” though.

      1. If a contrived result was even suspected then the credibility of both clubs and the SRU would be gone.
        Looking forward to both teams going at each other from the off. The fans hate, or at least despise, each other so expect those whose wages they contribute to to obliterate the opposition. Berghan might have overdone it in the first fixture but on that occasion Edinburgh were up for a battle and won in spite of having the weaker team and playing most of the match with 14 men. Can’t imagine Cockerill, with a proud history of English club derbies, expecting anything less that total commitment. If Edinburgh wants to be considered an elite club at Pro 14 level then Saturday is D Day.
        Just a shame that such a club fixture is not treated as a standalone event, rather the afterthought to a SRU festival of rugby, with little thought to the travelling supporters of both clubs. Imagine it being held, too, in a proper stadium appropriate to the attendance, such as Tynecastle, with fans on top of the action, a hostile, ravening Edinburgh support and the Warriors crammed into the away end. An atmosphere worthy of the fixture would be guaranteed.

  4. 1. Allan
    2. Mcinally
    3. Berghan
    4. Cummings
    5. Gilchrist
    6. Ritchie
    7. Gibbins
    8. Mata
    9. Horne
    10. Weir
    11. Duhan Van der Merve
    12. Dean
    13. Johnson
    14. Matawalu
    15. Kinghorn


  5. I really hope this game bucks the trend and lives up to its potential. Two excellent teams have been named, there’s still a lot to play for for both sides, and it’s the headline event of Silver Saturday. Fingers crossed.

  6. If I was picking a joint team:

    1. Sutherland – Not starting but he is the better player
    2. Rambo
    3. Berghan – A couple of seasons ago this would be a mad suggestion. Have to congratulate him and the coaches for his improvement
    4. Toolis (tough call with Gilco finding form again, plus young Cummings who is looking some player)
    5. Gray
    6. Bradbury
    7. Gibbins
    8. Mata
    9. G. Horne – tough call this one, but I think Horne is possibly slightly better. If SHC can continue his current form this would change, but for now Horne.
    10. Russell – Very hot and cold just now, but is the better player
    11. Van Der Merwe
    12. Dean – controversial choice possibly, but he has been superb for Edinburgh at 12, and should be touring in the summer.
    13. Grigg
    14. Van der Merwe
    15. Hogg – Kinghorn is brilliant and if he wasn’t up against Hogg would be in the team, but Hogg is a B&I lion (twice).

    1. Picking joint teams ! Whatever next , is that a reinvention of pick the international team ?

      You guys have too much time on your hands. So do you fancy coming round and playing Subbuteo with my 7 year old. You can pick teams all day long.

  7. Talk from Ulster of a ‘Scottish’ fix for the 1872 game, have you seen the team Munster have named? Look like a ‘Who’s who’ of their Academy team with only Sammy Arnold retaining his place from last week. Although losing Cooney & Piutau, Ulster bring in Best, Henderson & Gilroy. Loads of money being taken on an Ulster win (they could start as favs wi the bookies which is unheard of at Thomond Park), after the teams announced. Will be no surprise if we see an Ulster success. At least Embra will know what they need to do before 1872 match kicks off.

    1. Aye, was just commenting on that over on The Guardian. Poor way to treat the league, the fans, Ulster and Edinburgh. They’ve enough ‘cover’ to get away with it (ERCC semi last week, Pro14 quarters next week), but it’s still scummy behaviour.

  8. If it’s good for Scottish rugby, I think this should be gamed, but gamed well. No heavy tackles. No last ditch try saving tackles. High scoring on both sides. Because the Irish are never cynical.

    1. Sorry but that is disgraceful chat. We are better than that. the idea that any Scottish rugby team should not try as hard as possible to win is simply unacceptable to me.

      1. Jeez you not watched much scottish rugby for the last couple of decades then?

  9. ‘Course later kick off for 1872. So, Ulster may have lost without a bonus before K.O.

  10. Glasgow is due a big game after being decidedly off colour in the second half of the season although it might be better to keep that up their sleeve for the semi. There’s a lot of hype around but some of the head to heads are fascinating. Looking forward to Brown/McInally, Fagerson/Bradberry, the VdMerves, the scrum halfs, the full backs. Could be a great game as some of the other boys are looking for seats on the plane for the summer tour.

  11. I think you’re taking your football analogy too far, Highland Bear! Warriors crammed into the away end?! And fans who ‘hate or despise each other’? Hopefully not! I’ve had a Warriors season ticket since the move to Scotstoun, but also enjoyed supporting Edinburgh in the Heineken Cup against Toulouse in 2012, and in Dublin against Ulster in the semi-final that year. Of course I’ll be cheering for Glasgow today, but I still want to see Edinburgh qualify for the Champions Cup and will support them against all-comers, unless they are in the same group as Glasgow! Hopefully, Ulster will succumb to Munster’s charms today, and no shenanigans will be needed to see Edinburgh through. I do agree with your point about the late match, though. I had hoped to take my 5 year old grandson to his first rugby match, but not at that time of night!

  12. Well, Munster didn’t roll over then. Now set for a cracking 1872 decider with no sub-plot. It’s a square go now!

  13. Well, if there was a conspiracy, it was poorly executed. Now that’s sorted, 1872 to play for.

  14. Now there’s a match! Irish fans on reddit whining about Munster kicking it out at the end… sounds a bit like here last week.

  15. Evening all, does anyone have a link to a stream of the game please that doesn’t involve setting up an online betting account!?

  16. When is Zander Fagerson going to stop being involved with ‘handbags’ and get on with his day job!!!!

    1. I’d take Berghan or McCallum over him any day. Didn’t think I’d have said that a year ago but there you go.

    2. There were plenty of handbags in the game and Zander was barely involved, ie, you’re talking gash.

      1. Sorry Stu, but if you just watch Zander during a game, he is always there or there abouts when niggles are going on or starting them. He is definitely ‘Biggarish’ re Wales 10!

    3. Both scrums were rock solid last night and Zander was better in the loose than Berghan . As Zander played with Big Gordy, he’s been trained to take no nonsense, which is great. Personally, I love a bit of handbags in a prop as it shows the opposition they won’t get away with any nonsense. Just as long as it doesn’t lead to yellow cards (which it hasn’t). I’ve heard a lot of these comments about Zander and his handbags. I applaud it. Give it a rest and stop whingeing.

      1. Now that is more like it. A Lover’s tiffs on the pitch is worth paying good money for.That’s the attitude man, more comments like this are what we need, lets stop the love in’s and stand up for strong traditional values.Say it as it is, Zander’s handbags are just him showing up. That is his day job, he is a prop , not Kofi Annan.

    4. Duhan lost his shirt when Hogg ripped it off in a scuffle as I recall. Strange no-one has mentioned that.

    5. Agree with Rob and Scrummo here – Zander would be better off just getting on with it. He’s going to end up costing his team sooner or later.

      Always thought he should model himself on Nel a couple of years ago. Far more infuriating to be up against a prop who destroys you in every scrum and then shrugs and smiles afterwards like he doesn’t care than one who gets all red-faced and shouty imo.

      McCallum seems far more in this vein and I’d expect him to overtake Zander in the next couple of seasons.

  17. Great open game , try comes from an out on the full by Hogg and Lee Jones was back as slow as a Donkey in retreat. Right now it is only going one way .

  18. Edinburgh deserved their win, the best team won. Great try by DTH. Says it all when the replacement Prop makes the most exciting yards. I cannot wait to hear the excuses from the faithful luvvies.

    Glasgow should shape up and ship out. Some of our best players are shrinking into the shadows. I hope Rennie has the cajones.

    1. You do seem to be a ‘glass absolutely empty’ kind of man Huffy! Was there anything positive for you?

      1. Yes loads and I have already said it. You just need to get under the surface. What I have said is right , it is just not what some want to hear. Glasgow losing is not positive for me, worse as we now need to play for the title.

    2. They should shape up and ship out?… Seems a bit harsh. Why bother with the first step?

      1. Because it is not all bad, far from it.I can be a luvvie as well you know. Now its time for pruning and new growth.

  19. Good game tonight. The second Glasgow try was a thing of beauty. Fantastic try. Better form from Glasgow than in the last few weeks, but still more work to do. The pack are still allowing themselves to be out-muscled, and the team are still playing without the ball for long periods of the match. They do need to get back to basics and hold on possession a bit more. Looking forward to watching Edinburgh v Munster next week. It’s going to be attritional. The (likely) Glasgow v Scarlets will be a different kind of game.

  20. Great game, but clear the more accomplished team lost. Pleased for McInally and others. But, take away the denied try, a few soft whistles and would have gone the other way. Best 3 scottish fly halves all on the pitch at the same time for Glasgow!

      1. No question Embra were better. I think this poster is trying to say is ‘not a lot in it’. I dont agree with him. There is a big difference and it is mental strength.

        When Edinburgh scored just before half time, that was advantage Edinburgh.

        Glasgow were attacking, one daft touch find puts Glasgow heads down , Edinburgh strike.

        Glasgow are not mentally in a great place, they are not playing as a team. They do have great players (DTH, Hogg) and great talent such as Horne and Hastings for the future. But not playing as a team and not able to ride the blows is costing them.

  21. If that does not make toony pick Horne and SHC over Pyrgos and Fowles i dont know what will, both had excellent games; Hastings impressed also and showed nice control alongside Russell.

    And nukos run … a thing onlf beauty.

    1. Agree with you Neil. He left Gilchrist for dead. Nuke must have done some sprinting before he got too big. Highest knee lift I’ve seen in a prop. Glasgow need to spring him more often.

  22. I seem to recall some criticism in here about the resigning of DTH over giving some ‘young guy’s’ an opportunity. DTH is a man of few words, does his talking on the pitch.Last night was exactly what we signed him for. 100 pecent class.

  23. It’s a shame Glasgow’s dip in form is coming at the important end of the season, but worth celebrating the fact that both Edinburgh and Glasgow won 15/21 games this season, more than any other PRO14 side including Leinster!

    That is a huge improvement in league form for both sides on last year, and a truly remarkable turn around for Edinburgh.

  24. From what I saw of it that was a cracking game. Well done to both sides and a cracking advert for Scottish rugby.

    I missed the start of the game, what happened to Kinghorn and Gray?

    Anyone know why Cockerill seems to replace SHC with Fowles at about 55 mins even when he’s flying on the pitch?

    I thought Richie looked good. Impressive that we were without Watson and Hardie and didn’t miss them.

    I saw some of the second half of he Munster game before it. I’ve no idea how they let in 3 tries in the 1st half but they looked in impressive form, Ulster barely touched the ball. Although I was expecting a “mistake” late on that allowed Ulster to get the winning bp try at the end like they did against Edinburgh and Glasgow.

    I’m looking forward to a cracking quarter final.

    1. Kinghorn and Gray (among others) pulled out late (phrasing) before the kick off, presumably after Ulster failed to win. No idea why you’d ever replace SHC with Fowles, let alone do so with more than a quarter of the game left.

      Munster vs Ulster was a strange one. Ulster got tons of possession from scrums – Whitehouse awarded a free kick against Munster for early engagement, then allowed Ulster to engage early at every subsequent scrum, meaning that they had the momentum and power to gain penalties from them, at least until Henderson went off. Pretty much every 50/50 decision went against Munster, too, and their fans were understandably irate about it. So Ulster dominated possession in the first half and ended up with three tries. In the second half, Munster dominated possession and swapped their front row, so they earned themselves the draw. Second-half Munster were actually really good – much better than the B-team Leinster put out.

      1. Glasgow actually made two sets of swaps.

        Going by twitter Gray, Seymour and Johnson dropped out at half time in the Ulster game when it looked like they would almost certainly get 5 points. Then Peter Horne dropped out five before KO.

        Kinghorn and Dean dropped out when the final whistle went in Limerick.

        Munster were impressive. Especially the convicted drug cheat Grobler .

      2. I thought this was odd, when the game started with unexpected personnel.

        What’s the point of naming teams if you can just change last minute?

        Surely there must be some league restrictions on this.

  25. The thing that amazed me in that game was the lack of poor performances, I can’t think of many who played ‘badly’.
    Here are my player ratings for the two teams:
    Allan – 6 (Glasgow’s worst player)
    Brown- 7
    Fagerson- 7
    Swinson- 7
    Cummings – 7.5
    M Fagerson – 8 (yes he was fairly quiet, but he looked the most professional of any player on the pitch yesterday, his body position looked like that of many NZ forwards e.g. Kieran Read)
    Gibbins – 8
    Wilson- 7
    Horne- 9
    Russell- 8.5
    DTH- 9
    Dunbar- 7.5
    Grigg- 7.5
    Jones- 6.5
    Hogg- 7

    Lay- 8
    McInally- 8.5
    Berghan- 7.5
    Toolis- 8.5
    GIlchrist- 7.5
    Bradbury- 7.5
    Ritchie- 8
    Mata- 8
    Hidalgo-clyne- 9.5
    Van Der Walt- 8.5
    Duhan- 8
    Rasolea- 8.5
    Johnston- 8
    Harries- 7
    Fife- 7.5

    1. I think Wilson deserves and extra half-point for somehow going from being pinned down by Bradbury in one shot then, when they cut back to the scuffle, pinning Bradbury down!

      1. Agree. Terribly shoddy work from the cameraman. He needs to make his mind up.

    2. Fair marks mostly. Thought Mata and McInally were immense and deserved 9’s, as did Gibbins. No way did SHC or Horne deserve 9.5 and 9. Maybe and 8.5 & 8

    3. I think those marks are a fair representation, few lower than a 7 and the 2 standout players getting 9’s. Well done.

  26. Was at the game and haven’t managed to catch replay yet. What was wrong with DTH’s third ‘try’? Was their hands in the ruck on the floor as I didn’t think he was bound when he picked it up.

    1. Owens said it was “in at the side”, but the commentators and, I’d imagine, most viewers were baffled as to how this was the case. I thought it must have been hands in the ruck, although it was more of a dogpile than a ruck.

      1. I think the only thing we can be sure of is that Owens was not keen on whatever happened. Shame, as it was a cheeky little try.

  27. SHC had a real dip last year, failing to develop as everyone had hoped. This season however he has been one of the best players and has been outstanding in recent matches, plus being a reliable back up kicker. I hope there’s a rethink and he gets offered a contract to stay north of the border.

    1. He has been offered a contract and he turned it down. Obvs feels undervalued but could end up cutting his nose off to spite his face at this rate as no noises on a contract elsewhere

    2. He’s signing for Scarlets.

      It’ll be interesting to see if he’s made himself unavailable for Scotland. Obviously doesn’t see eye to eye with Townsend.

      1. I don’t really understand this comment – Scotland has no problem selecting foreign-based players so why would SHC had made himself unavailable?

        Why is there an obvious problem with Toonie? SHC’s form has been poor for two years and until recently was not good enough for Scotland selection. SHC May have been better than Fowles but his wayward passing was probably what kept him left out of Scotland squads. When would SHC and Toonie even have developed this beef, given he’s never been managed or selected by him?

      2. I’m just wondering if Scarlets might have asked him to make himself unavailable for selection as they will obviously be hoping he can cover international periods.

        Townsend has never called up SHC yet he has called up Kennedy and Fowles who are both murder. When you think about it he’s just about the only significant Scottish pro player who hasn’t been involved in a squad under Townsend.

  28. As a relative neutral, delighted to see the best derby in a long long time. A game that didn’t lack for just about every type of excitement and a genuine advert for Scottish pro rugby.

    Embra better as a team ( best I’ve ever seen Mata play ) although for me the 2 stand out moments were the Gibbins Glasgow team try and Halonukanoko ( sp ?! ) sprinting down the centre of the pitch late on.

    Well done both teams. Now go and do the same in the play offs.

  29. Did SHC pick up a knock that resulted in his substitution?

    If Embra are to have any hope on Sat, SHC needs to play the 80.

  30. Hate to say it, but I’ve a horrible feeling that neither Glasgow nor Edinburgh will make the Pro 14 final this year, let alone win it. I hope I’m wrong, but something about the way both sides haven’t done justice to themselves in some crunch Pro 14 and European matches this year makes me fear the worst for them when the next crunch matches come round.

    Both are very good sides containing some outstanding players and as an Edinburgh supporter it’s great to see the power of good that Cockerill has been for a club that were pretty flaky last season. Rennie too has not done too badly with his squad, though I’ve a feeling Glasgow have kind of plateaued this year and need to kick on.

    Optimistic for both sides though for the 18/19 season. Rennie will have to toughen his pack, and it will be interesting to see what Cockerill does now that he’s cleared space for new players next season.

    1. I think you’re right. Still, two new coaches and two knock-out spots ain’t bad for what many were expecting to be simply a year in transition.

      1. Agreed, Cam. Especially for Edinburgh, who’ve been some way behind Warriors for a few seasons now. Will be supporting both teams equally in the play-offs – unless they end up against each other!
        Good times for rugby in Scotland right now. Hopefully, better times ahead too.

      2. Edinburgh used to be insanely frustrating – smashing teams with wild abandon one week and capitulating like broken dogs the next. Now we have Finn (and Warriors…) for that! Like you, I’ll be supporting both until the all-Scottish final.

        Really hope both teams improve next year, as neither seem close to their potential at present.

  31. Is there a definitive decision on the Edinburgh Stadium for 18/19 ? I heard backpitch at Murrayfield was discussed , is that going ahead and when ? Anyone in the know !

    1. I heard from a man in the know that it wont be ready for next season.

  32. Biggest roar of the day was in the Up and Under before the game when Munster kicked the ball out. Even as a Glasgow man I was feeling the tension in those last 10 minutes.

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