Edinburgh 29-19 Glasgow Warriors

Glasgow Warriors were edged out at BT Murrayfield in a pulsating encounter this afternoon, as Edinburgh claimed a 29-19 victory in the second match of this season’s 1872 Cup.

Despite scoring three tries of their own, the Warriors ultimately left the capital empty-handed at the end of a hard-fought encounter in front of over 27,000 spectators.

It was the visitors who came out of the changing rooms at the home of Scottish rugby looking the livelier; a determined kick-chase from DTH van der Merwe and the breakdown nous of Fraser Brown forced Mark Bennett to concede an early penalty, handing Adam Hastings the chance to open the scoring. The Glasgow fly-half kept his kick low from 40 metres out, but slid his attempt wide of the uprights with four minutes on the clock.

Having set up Ali Price for the opening score last weekend, Huw Jones then very nearly repeated the trick on 10 minutes. The centre glided into a gap and accelerated clear, with the supporting Price only denied by the Edinburgh scramble defence.

Instead, it was the home side that struck for the game’s opening score. An overthrown lineout could only find Duhan van der Merwe, and the winger charged clear. Whilst he was eventually brought down by the Glasgow cover defence the Warriors were powerless to stop Bill Mata’s burst and offload to Darcy Graham, from which the Scotland winger had the simplest of finishes. Simon Hickey converted, and Edinburgh led 7-0 at the end of the opening quarter.

Undeterred, the Warriors responded in kind just five minutes later. After Sam Johnson and Callum Gibbins had punched a way into the Edinburgh 22, it became a case of picking the right option for the visitors. Ruaridh Jackson did just that, delaying his pass to perfection to send Jones through a hole and under the posts to give Hastings the simple conversion and level the scores.

With both sides now firmly established in the match, defences came to the fore in the remainder of the opening stanza. Hamish Watson and Jamie Ritchie made themselves a nuisance at the breakdown, whilst Scott Cummings and Jonny Gray led the hard-hitting defensive effort from the visitors.

It took until seven minutes after the break for the next score to arrive, as Simon Hickey capitalised on a Glasgow infringement to add three more points to his side’s tally. Yet the next try would belong to the Warriors; a no-arms tackle from Ritchie saw Hastings turn down the three points in favour of the lineout, and from there the visitors struck. After wave upon wave of forward pressure, it was eventually Cummings that took the killer pass from Price to crash over. Hastings converted, and the Warriors led 14-10.

The game was developing into an end-to-end encounter, with the pendulum swinging back in favour of the home side just moments later. A defence-splitting break from Edinburgh replacement Matt Scott resulted in the centre being held up, but from the resulting scrum the home side scored their second try of the afternoon. Whilst Mata’s initial charge was repelled Henry Pyrgos was on hand to dart over from a couple of metres to dot down, Hickey’s conversion giving the home side the lead once more.

Back came the Warriors yet again. Having seen his opposite number Pyrgos get on the scoresheet with a traditional scrum-half snipe, George Horne followed suit on 66 minutes. A burst from DTH van der Merwe took the Warriors to within ten metres, before the pack took over to make the hard yards before Horne’s finishing touch. With Hastings having departed due to injury, Jackson’s conversion attempt sailed wide to leave the scoreline at 19-17 to the Warriors.

Then came the crucial moment in the match. Having been awarded a penalty for a Glasgow infringement at the breakdown, Jaco van der Walt dispatched play into the Warriors 22. A five-metre driving lineout resulted in the visitors being penalised for illegally collapsing the maul, with referee Mike Adamson awarding a penalty try and sending Jonny Gray to the sin-bin for the final ten minutes.

As Glasgow went in search of a match-levelling score in the closing stages, they were instead hit by an Edinburgh sucker-punch. A knock-on in midfield saw van der Walt spin the ball wide with advantage in hand, with Graham receiving the ball with open field in front of him. The winger duly pinned his ears back and raced in at the corner, securing a bonus-point for Edinburgh and denying the Warriors even a consolatory losing bonus-point.

Rennie’s men will look to shake off their BT Murrayfield hangover in their opening match of 2020, as they travel to Benetton in a week’s time to kick-off the new decade.

live commentary 3:00 PM Saturday 28 Dec 2019

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Kick-off 3:00 PM

Edinburgh

Glasgow Warriors

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