Kebble ready for 1872 battle
A lot has changed since the last time Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh went head-to-head back in December. We’ve had a New Year, new rules and regulations and – in the case of Oli Kebble – new hairdos.
Yet as the return of live rugby for the Warrior Nation edges ever closer, it’s clear that the appetite for cross-country derbies certainly hasn’t diminished during the Guinness PRO14’s six-month hiatus.
“We’re incredibly hungry to get back out there,” Kebble told glasgowwarriors.org.
“It’s been a long time coming – it’s been a strange old break to have, but everyone can’t wait to get back out and get playing again.”
It will be the most familiar of foes that provide the opposition for Danny Wilson’s men in their first hit-out since February, as the Warriors take on Edinburgh in a BT Murrayfield double-header. The hype around both fixtures has already begun from pundits and fans on both side of the divide, united by an eagerness to cheer on their team in live action once more.
With the front-row always a key battleground in meetings between the two sides, Kebble and company are more than up for the challenge that awaits them this weekend.
“Their front-row is a really good unit, and they’ve got some really good players there,” said Kebble.
“We’re also a really good unit though, and the calibre of players we’ve got at this club across the front-row is outstanding.
“It’s always a really good battle against Edinburgh – it’s two top-class front-rows going head-to-head and it’s one both sides are always up for.
“We’re not expecting them to have changed the way they play. They’re an extremely physical side with some very dangerous players, and it’ll be an incredibly tough test for us. Like any derby, though, the boys on both sides will be up for it and we’re really looking forward to it.”
This weekend’s fixture comes with an additional edge, not that any was likely to be needed; with the 2019/20 1872 Cup series poised at one game all, the victors on Saturday evening will also be taking home the trophy in addition to the bragging rights.
“Because of the delay, there’s probably even more excitement than normal going into this weekend,” admitted Kebble.
“Training’s been excellent. Everyone’s putting their best foot forward because they want to be involved on Saturday, which creates good competition within the squad. Playing for the 1872 Cup on Saturday makes it even more exciting, too – we want to bring the cup home with us.
“Danny’s also underlined that Edinburgh have won the 1872 Cup four out of the last five seasons, and that’s something that doesn’t sit well with us. There’s huge motivation out there, from personal performance to winning silverware. I doubt that any player will be out there who isn’t motivated on Saturday.”
Whilst the Warrior Nation will be working from home this weekend when it comes to showing their support for their team, the excitement is already building amongst the Scotstoun faithful. It’s a factor that Kebble believes will serve as an additional motivating factor this weekend, as all eyes turn east and the pursuit of the 1872 Cup.
“We’ll definitely miss the fans,” said the prop.
“It’s going to be strange, because the Warrior Nation is a huge part of this club.
“We know that they’ll be watching and cheering us on from home though, and we want to give them something to cheer about. We want to show how grateful we are for all their support over the last six months.”