Glasgow Warriors V Edinburgh Rugby
A big defensive performance from Edinburgh saw Glasgow Warriors come up short in their final fixture of 2018, with the men from the east claiming a 16-8 victory at Scotstoun this afternoon.
Stuart McInally’s try and the boot of Jaco van der Walt meant that the 1872 Cup would be returning to BT Murrayfield, with George Horne’s late score a mere consolation for the home side.
It was the capital outfit that struck the opening blow, Jaco van der Walt bisecting the uprights from 40 metres with a penalty after four minutes.
An evenly matched opening quarter saw both sides probe for the crucial gap, yet each team saw their attacks repelled by the opposing defence. A penalty from 10 metres allowed Adam Hastings to level the scores on 19 minutes, with the capacity crowd at Scotstoun enjoying a feisty start to proceedings.
Edinburgh edged their noses back in front on 25 minutes, van der Walt making no mistake to restore his side’s advantage.
The visitors then nearly made their hosts pay for turning the ball over in the very next phase of play, with quick handling finding Duhan van der Merwe on the touchline. The South African winger was unable to produce an offload to beat the covering defence, however, with the Warriors’ try-line remaining intact.
An increasingly tetchy encounter saw no further scoring in the opening stanza, with the defensive line of both teams holding firm until the interval.
With the 1872 Cup on the line, as well as ever-important Guinness PRO14 points, Dave Rennie’s men knew that a good start to the second half was critical. Their plans, however, were disrupted on 46 minutes, as Oli Kebble found himself sent to the sin-bin by referee George Clancy.
Edinburgh made full use of their numerical advantage almost immediately. A dominant scrum saw Viliame Mata pick up and charge for the line, with the Fijian brought down inches short. There was to be no denying McInally with the next surge, however, with van der Walt converting for a 13-3 lead.
A ten-point lead became a 13-point lead on the hour mark, as van der Walt added his third penalty of the afternoon to leave the Warriors clinging on to their remaining hopes.
Knowing they needed to score quickly, the hosts were throwing everything at the Edinburgh defence. Niko Matawalu and DTH van der Merwe each found themselves doing their utmost to outsprint the covering defence, whilst Hastings and Sam Johnson were throwing caution to the wind in opening up the play. Yet time and time again, the visiting defence stood resolute in the face of the oncoming attack, frustrating the home side and their supporters.
Finally, with three minutes to play, the dam burst. After repeatedly hammering away at the Edinburgh try-line, a dummy and dart from George Horne saw the replacement scrum-half dot down for the score. Hastings’ conversion drifted wide, however, leaving the Warriors needing to score again to take anything from the match.
To the agony of the Warrior Nation, the hosts very nearly did just that. With Blair Kinghorn having kicked the restart dead, a set-piece move saw Hastings send DTH van der Merwe through a gap with a sublime pass. The Canadian winger’s offload was just behind the supporting Matawalu, though, the boll rolling into touch and ushering in the full-time whistle.
The victory, and the 1872 Cup, belonged to Edinburgh therefore, as the Warriors ended 2018 on a deflating note. Rennie’s men will hope to start the New Year with better fortune, as they travel to Treviso to first-foot Benetton Rugby in a week’s time.