A thrilling, and almost ridiculously long, Scottish derby saw Glasgow claim the 1872 Cup in one of the most dramatic, whistle-interrupted but still thrilling, matches in recent memory.
Edinburgh won a scrum penalty through WP Nel when Glasgow had spilled the pill after making the first foray in attack, and then worked their way into the Glasgow 22 with some powerful carrying through the phases.
Glasgow’s oft leaky defence managed to loosen the ball in contact 5m from the line, allowing Ross Thompson to smack a wonderful kick from inside his own 22 to just outside Edinburgh’s.
Following the shaky Edinburgh line-out, Glasgow won themselves a penalty and Thompson opened the scoring.
Thompson’s thumping boot to touch after Kyle Steyn had won a turnover penalty then gave Warriors an opportunity, and it was taken with some style when Cole Forbes ran a darting 45-degree line onto Price’s pass to score.
Edinburgh had conceded another penalty in the Glasgow 22, only for it to be reversed because of Fraser Brown giving newly anointed Lion Duhan van der Merwe a bit of a shove in the afters. Be prepared for more talk of penalties because there was mountains of them, which has been both sides downfall this season.
Although Glasgow repelled the predatory van der Merwe in the right-hand corner, Edinburgh had penalty advantage, and Dave Cherry – the could’ve been fairy-tale Lion – crossed in the opposite corner after Chamberlain’s boot to touch had set up the chance for a close-range line-out. The young stand off also converted it brilliantly.
Straight from the kick-off, Glasgow went ahead again.
Thompson’s restart was a nasty one to take, Steyn and Brown worked the turnover, and despite referee Adam Jones’ arm calling for a couple of penalties to Glasgow, the Warriors decided not to mess about and Fotu Lokotui crossed the whitewash from the base of a ruck at close range.
If you discounted the penalties and advantages which ended with tries we were already in double figures, and then Rob Harley went to the bin for changing his bind in a maul.
Edinburgh went to touch again. Glasgow impeded at the maul again, but Dave Cherry, again, took no note of the referee’s call and scored. Again. Maybe. Schoeman may have had his hand on it. I’ve had less trouble telling from 50m away at a domestic Premiership game. Team try.
Another penalty, this time awarded to Glasgow on halfway, saw Ali Price tap and go, and from there came a captain’s challenge.
Cherry had gone to chop Price’s legs but it was the actions of former Warrior Mark Bennett that had drawn the attention of Brown. Mark Bennett had gone to make the secondary tackle, but in doing so he drove his shoulder into Price’s face.
TMO Hollie Davidson and Jones reviewed the situation, and Bennett saw a red card which meant under the new rules he was gone for good, but Edinburgh could bring a replacement on after 20mins of game-time.
Thompson missed the shot at goal, but Glasgow kept the pressure on, and a perfectly timed pass from Price to Stafford McDowall – making his first appearance since November – nearly got Glasgow away, but just as Rob Harley had returned to the fray to make it 15 v 14 for Warriors, Oli Kebble swung an elbow at Henry Pyrgos, and he became the second player to be red-carded in the match.
The madness wasn’t over.
Glasgow thought they had scored in the 43rd minute of the first half through Fraser Brown, but Grant Gilchrist called his captain’s challenge for an infringement beyond the ruck – and a wee side query on the grounding – but after review, the try stood.
Half-time: Glasgow Warriors 24 – 14 Edinburgh
Ready for more?
The second half got off to a hugely worrying start when Scott Cummings went to chop Villiame Mata but ended up taking a knee to the head and was laid spark out on the floor.
Thankfully, after the medical team had come on to look after him, he signalled to all that he was okay as he was wheeled off on a stretcher.
Edinburgh won a penalty at the restart scrum, and although Chamberlain thumped an amazing clearance towards the Warriors’ 22, the ref called it back for “advantage” which ended with Edinburgh losing possession 25m back from where Chamberlain had found touch a few phases later.
Thompson then started pulling some strings like Freddie Kreuger in “Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors” for the horror fans amongst you.
A wonderful cross-kick to Steyn nearly got him away until Damien Hoyland hauled him down with a tremendous tackle, but between him and the brimming with confidence Ali Price, the pressure told and Steyn crossed in the right corner for a 29-14 Glasgow lead.
Stuart McInally came off the bench to do his best Dave Cherry-impression to cross from a maul try, just as Edinburgh had gone back to 15-men with James Johnstone coming onto the field replacing the red-carded Bennett.
On the hour mark, Grant Gilchrist also went off injured, then there was another TMO review as Cole Forbes looked to set Tagive into the corner, but the outstretched arm of Eroni Sau was deemed to be part of a legitimate attempt at a tackle, which it was, but you’ve seen them given. (Duncan Taylor v Ireland was probably even closer.)
Sau then doubled up on showing his defensive skills by winning a turnover penalty by clamping onto the ball as Warriors moved off the set-piece, which kept Edinburgh still in the game. Had Glasgow scored, it would have been a near impossible task for the capital side to recover a 3-try deficit. (Yes, Cammy, I remember the Berwick comeback.)
Richie Gray had replaced the stricken Cummings and had been flawless on claiming Glasgow line-outs, but his leap across an Edinburgh throw brought a penalty which took Burgh further down the field, and the giant lock then got yellow carded for bringing down the maul that Edinburgh had set up inside the Glasgow 22.
Edinburgh went to touch again, but the line-out wasn’t cleanly taken which slowed their progress, and two excellent tackles by George Turner disrupted the Edinburgh flow, until they were forced into a Hail Mary which Cole Forbes intercepted at the edge of the Glasgow 22.
Forbes didn’t get far before he was tackled, and a fatigued Warriors’ defence failed to reclaim possession, leading to I think the 100th penalty of the match.
Edinburgh went for one last throw of the darts in an attempt to get within a try’s-worth deficit – which had already proved fruitful – and McInally looked like he had done so, only for Ratu Tagive to somehow get under his dive for the line and jam his knee under the ball.
There was just not enough time for Edinburgh to reduce the arrears and make it a winnable game for them and despite more pressure and possession in the Warriors’ red zone, they couldn’t make anything of it in the face of stoic defence. An unplayable ball from a held-up tackle drew the final curtain.
That was nuts. If you didn’t see it live, you should try and catch it to see just how dramatic it was, and there were passages of real quality.
SRBlog MOTM: Ross Thompson and Ali Price showed moments of half-back brilliance, Eroni Sau was excellent, a constant threat and there was the two defensive moments mentioned, but it’s Cole Forbes. I’ll eat all the hats money can buy if he’s not touring with Scotland this summer.
Referee: Adam Jones (WRU)