Within the first three minutes of this second leg of the 1872 Cup, 2018 edition, there was a stolen lineout, a scrum penalty and a bout of handbags.
This set the tone for the first half of the match with a fair bit of setpiece, plenty of niggle and occasionally some rugby threatened to break out.
The first points came from the boot of Jaco van Der Walt after Glasgow conceded a penalty at the opening scrum.
Both sides had a number of attacks in the following moments with Hamish Watson and Stuart McInally carrying hard but the defences held firm before Glasgow levelled the scores on the 18th minute, Adam Hastings kicking a penalty after they had spent several minutes attacking the Edinburgh line with a penalty advantage in their pocket.
From the restart Glasgow secured a penalty but referee George Clancy overturned it due to some afters in the ruck – Ryan Wilson heavily patting Grant Gilchrist on the head then maintaining he thought it was Tim Swinson. Edinburgh kicked for touch, won another penalty from that and Kinghorn kicked into the corner. They were given yet another penalty advantage and continued with one out attacks before throwing it wide to Van Der Merwe.
A great covering tackle by Stuart Hogg preventing him scoring in the corner but Edinburgh then opted to kick their advantage to take the lead through the boot of Van Der Walt.
A great restart kick off from Hogg forced Dean to put a foot in touch whilst trying to field the ball, earning Glasgow a lineout deep in Edinburgh’s 22. Young Grant Stewart was unable to find his man from the following lineout and the momentum swung again as Duhan Van Der Merwe sprinted down the touchline before he dropped it forward in the act of passing as Glasgow’s back three scrambled again. This time Glasgow got the penalty at the scrum and cleared their lines up to halfway.
The bitty almost nervous nature of the game continued until half time. Scrum penalties being generally awarded to the team with the put-in and knock-ons dominating. It fizzled out at the halfway mark as Pyrgos cleared it into touch.
Half Time Glasgow Warriors 3-6 Edinburgh
The teams retook the field for the second half with changes to both of them. For Glasgow Stuart Hogg and Grant Stewart were replaced by DTH Van Der Merwe and former Edinburgh man Kevin Bryce. Juan Pablo Socino came on for Edinburgh in place of Chris Dean. In the first exchanges of this half Glasgow also lost Alex Dunbar to injury and he was replaced by Sam Johnson.
The seemingly endless front row battle of the first half came to a head with the first scrum in the second period. Two resets and Clancy lost patience and punished Glasgow in the guise of Oli Kebble with a yellow card. Edinburgh were unable to take anything from the lineout that followed as Tim Swinson disrupted the maul and earned his team – you guessed it – a scrum.
The seven man Glasgow pack however were unable to retain the ball and Bill Mata set off on a run, getting to within a few inches of the line. The ball was recycled quickly and Stuart McInally forced his way over to get the first try of the match. Jaco Van Der Walt kicked the extras to stretch Edinburgh’s lead to 10.
The sin bin period ended without further score from either side but with the Glasgow front row now completely changed the scrum penalties kept coming for either side, the next one falling to Edinburgh. Van Der Walt opted to kick it through the posts from around 40 metres to make the gap wider.
Glasgow finally crossed the whitewash with only a couple of minutes left. A lineout deep in Edinburgh’s 22 led to a maul and although Edinburgh were able to stop its momentum they were unable to stop replacement George Horne from forcing his way over from close range. Hastings, forced to rush the conversion with time running out, failed to convert it.
Kinghorn overcooked the restart and from the resultant scrum Glasgow attacked through Matawalu but despite making some good ground he threw his pass straight into touch as the clock went red perhaps, summing up Glasgow’s afternoon and indeed their last 8 days or so.
This game was won in the front row. It’s not often it’s that obvious, but Schoeman and Nel were dominant throughout. It wasn’t pretty but it was effective and like all good teams you use the weapons at your disposal.
Referee – George Clancy (IRFU)
SRBlog Man of the Match – As said already the front row contest largely decided the outcome of this game and Edinburgh’s two starting props should be extremely proud of their efforts. Either could rightfully claim this award but I’m giving it to WP Nel for firstly subduing the normally dominant Oli Kebble and then forcing him into giving away enough penalties to earn the ire of referee George Clancy. The 7 points Edinburgh scored whilst he was in the sin bin pretty much settled the result.