Edinburgh 19-14 Glasgow Warriors

Edinburgh 19-14 Glasgow Warriors

Glasgow Warriors retained the 1872 Cup at the home of Scottish rugby this evening, despite falling to a late 19-14 defeat at the hands of Edinburgh in front of a record crowd of over 37,000 spectators.

Tries from Johnny Matthews and Stafford McDowall would ultimately prove in vain for the Scotstoun outfit, as Duhan van der Merwe’s late try secured victory for the hosts.

With a record 1872 Cup crowd at Scottish Gas Murrayfield intent on making themselves heard, it was the Warriors who came out of the blocks firing. An early error from Ali Price and Viliame Mata allowed Josh McKay to counter attack at pace, before Tom Jordan sliced through a gap and to within five metres. Whilst Edinburgh would scramble to deny Ally Miller, it came at the expense of a close-range penalty.

From there, the Warriors went to work. In almost inevitable fashion, a textbook rolling maul allowed Matthews to trundle over the whitewash for his tenth score of the campaign, George Horne converting for a 7-0 lead after just four minutes.

Now chasing the match as well as the aggregate scoreline, Edinburgh set about seeking a response, Ben Healy marshalling his men in midfield as the hosts looked to stretch the Glasgow defence. A break from Healy himself took his side to within five metres, only for Huw Jones to leap and intercept Pierre Schoeman’s pass at the critical juncture to deny the score.

It would take until the 26th minute for Edinburgh to finally find the breakthrough; Darcy Graham’s break on one touchline took the home side into the Glasgow 22, and when the ball was recycled and spun wide Matt Currie would have just enough room to squeeze over in the corner under pressure from Jones. The conversion from Healy drifted wide, leaving Glasgow’s lead on the night intact.

A frenetic half would continue at pace, with both sides creating chances to add to their tally as the crowd urged their teams forward. Jones and McKay would each go close for the Warriors, the latter also being alert to Viliame Mata’s line break to deny the big Fijian.

The Warriors would come ever closer as the half drew to a close, as only last-ditch Edinburgh defence prevented Smith’s men from adding to their lead before the interval. Instead, it would be Edinburgh who would be next to trouble the scorers, Healy making no mistake from the tee on 52 minutes to put his side in front for the first time on the night.

Just moments later, Glasgow’s scramble defence would be called into action, as Duhan van der Merwe and Price combined to break from 22 to 22. The work of Zander Fagerson and Rory Darge, amongst a host of Warriors, to earn the turnover was roared to the roof by the travelling Warrior Nation, as Smith’s men escaped the danger zone.

Those roars were to get even louder on 58 minutes, as the Warriors struck back in trademark fashion. Kyle Rowe’s chip ahead forced van der Merwe to ground for a goal-line drop-out, and after recovering the ball the Warriors clicked into gear. A charge from Henco Venter put Horne and Sione Tuipulotu on the front foot, the latter’s offload finding the arms of McDowall. The big centre was unstoppable from 20 metres out, Horne converting for a 14-8 lead as the match entered the final quarter.

Another penalty from Healy cut the Glasgow lead to three points on 64 minutes, before the game-deciding intervention arrived with six minutes to play. Graham’s turnover 10 metres from his own line saw the winger take off, drawing the cover before feeding van der Merwe. The Scotland flyer duly finished the job, outpacing the covering Horne and diving over for a score that – allied to a final late penalty from Healy – saw the hosts celebrating at full-time.

The 1872 Cup and a losing bonus-point would prove small consolation to Smith’s men, as the final whistle rang out around Scottish Gas Murrayfield. A week’s break now awaits the Warriors, before the Investec Champions Cup returns to centre stage in the New Year.

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