As usual much fanfare accompanied the first of three 1872 Cup fixtures this season but in the end it was a familiar story as Glasgow failed to impose their all-court swashbuckling on the wide green swathe of the BT Murrayfield pitch. They went away without a win or a bonus point, having not looked quite as up for the contest as the sizeable travelling support might have expected.
The first try was fairly typical of what was to follow, Hastings drawing his defender quite nicely as part of a Glasgow attacking move but then Duhan Van Der Merwe picking off the pop pass to Nick Grigg and beating Hogg in a foot race to the corner. An outstanding conversion from the touchline by Jaco Van Der Walt summed up the South African influence on this game in the opening 20 minutes; bookending the tries were two penalties to give the home side a 13-0 lead.
Glasgow’s discipline was letting them down, and too many errors in the setpiece and the loose counteracting any creative work that the half-back pair of Hastings and Horne were doing to get the team past a tricky Edinburgh defence.
When Glasgow did get on the scoreboard it was a piece of Horne brothers trickery that we’ve seen before: a carbon copy of the chip and (diving) chase move that almost came off against Wales but this time worked with pinpoint precision.
Adam Hastings converted, and the Warrior Nation would have been breathing a little easier.
Half-time: Edinburgh 13-7 Glasgow Warriors
The second half started with a period of hot-potato as both sides spilled balls or had kicks charged down.
The line speed from Edinburgh’s less heralded centre partnership of Chris Dean and James Johnstone saw them up so quickly in the faces of Glasgow that the ball rarely got wider than Pete Horne and out to the dangerous back three.
After the early unsettled spell, an improved effort from Glasgow saw them camped in Edinburgh’s half but their momentum was killed by a possibly unnecessary Hastings behind-the-back pass that skidded into touch.
Edinburgh managed to break out through a Van Der Merwe kick and chase that was gathered by Johnstone. The former sevens man was hauled down close to the line by Stuart Hogg but at the ruck that followed, Glasgow skipper Callum Gibbins interfered with play from an offside position enough for referee Mike Adamson to send him to the bin.
Rapidly becoming the villain of the piece for visiting fans, young Hastings threw a wobbly (and forward) pass that was all too easily picked off again by Van Der Merwe who once again sprinted away. Adding on another Van Der Walt penalty and the lead was out to 23-7 with 20 minutes to play.
As Glasgow were not to score in the second half, that was how it stayed despite the considerable riches on the bench Dave Rennie was able to draw on. With Hastings hooked and Horne at standoff Glasgow looked more incisive but Edinburgh weren’t to be denied and doggedly kept the pressure on until the inevitable mistake. It says something when that backline was resorting to kick passes as the only way of breaching the defence.
Successive penalties gave Glasgow a final spell on the Edinburgh line but they could not breach it. The final attack of the game saw Pete Horne fizz a pass across the face of an overlap straight into touch.
Overly ambitious, but on this occasion unable to execute.
For Edinburgh though, vital league points and once again the bragging rights – at least until next weekend when the action moves to the West.
Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU)
SRBlog Man of the Match: Henry Pyrgos ran the game very well from 9 behind an Edinburgh pack having one of their good days, and both Vanders had a strong influence on the scoreboard but my award goes to Darcy Graham who was targeted for pressure from the off and coped with pretty much everything his more experienced opponents could throw at him.