Edinburgh clinch 1872 Cup with tight Glasgow win

A determined Edinburgh side, under the leadership of Richard Cockerill, overpowered Dave Rennie’s Glasgow Warriors to return the 1872 Cup to the capital with a 24-19 win in the deciding third leg. They”ll now face Munster in the Pro14 play-offs on Saturday. Match report by Erin McRitchie

Dougie Fife, Jason Harries and Duhan van der Merwe celebrate with the 1872 Cup

Before Nigel Owens even blew his whistle for kick-off on Saturday, Edinburgh’s play-off spot was already secure. Ulster’s 24-24 draw with Munster earlier in the afternoon ensured all focus would now be on who would claim the coveted 1872 Cup.

There was a Van der Merwe on each side of the clash at BT Murrayfield, however, it was DTH – in his 100th appearance for the Warriors – who struck first. He opened the scoring just shy of 12 minutes as he collected a chip kick from Finn Russell, running it in down the wing for the first try of the night.

Edinburgh were quick to reply, with a try of their own coming courtesy of James Johnstone. The conversion from Hidalgo Clyne saw that the two teams were level at 7-7.

Three more tries were scored before the end of the half. Glasgow’s Callum Gibbins and Edinburgh’s Jordan Lay and Duhan Van der Merwe all secured five points for their sides, with Russell and Hidalgo Clyne adding the conversion extras.

The teams re-emerged for the second half with Edinburgh leading 21-14.

Glasgow were held off by the Edinburgh defence for nearly 30 minutes, before DTH Van der Merwe once again managed to break through the tackle for his second try. Russell couldn’t convert however, so things stood tense at 21-19 with 10 minutes to go.

As 80 minutes hit, in front of 25,000 people, Nathan Fowles kicked the ball out and Edinburgh had claimed a momentous victory in a game where tempers flared and pride was on the line for the capital side.

Earlier in the week, Cockerill was rather prophetic in his outlook on Glasgow in the run up to the match: “They’re starting to get a bit twitchy because they know – and we know – we’re good enough to beat them.”

Speaking after the match on Saturday, Cockerill said the win was one in which “the players should take all the credit”, adding that he was “delighted” for them following all of their tireless hard work.

He also hailed the 25,000 strong crowd in attendance, saying: “We’ve got a crowd that have stayed behind cheering us – maybe this club’s on the up. I’m delighted for our supporters and I want more to come back when we play here next time.”

Meanwhile, Warriors head coach Dave Rennie conceded that there were aspects of the game where Edinburgh outplayed his Glasgow side. He said: “We just didn’t get quick enough ball at key times. To Edinburgh’s credit, they’ve defended really well and kept us out in the end.

“You’ve got to build pressure. Sides like Edinburgh are good defensive teams and we didn’t do that enough tonight.”

Despite the jubilation at this latest win, Cockerill recognised his team still have plenty room for improvement in order to be on a completely-even playing ground with their western rivals. He said: “They’re a great side, but Glasgow are a good side – good enough to win the championship – and we’re not there yet.”

He did not take away from the merit of what his players had achieved though, saying: “We’re going to go there and we’re going to enjoy the experience and we’re going to try and win.”

Ultimately, his intentions for the seasons to come are abundantly clear: “Glasgow have been the sort of privileged elder brother for a long time and we’re starting to redress that. We want to be competing and overtaking them in the next 12 months or so.”

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