Glasgow Warriors fell to defeat in this evening’s 1872 Cup decider at BT Murrayfield, as Edinburgh claimed a 28-11 victory to leapfrog Danny Wilson’s men and lift the Scottish-Italian Shield in the process.
Ollie Smith’s late try proved in vain for the visitors, with the home side celebrating in front of a crowd of just under 25,000 in the capital.
The tone of the opening 40 minutes was set right from the opening kick-off, as the Warriors set about stretching the Edinburgh defence. A subtle offload from Thomas Gordon sent Sam Johnson racing through the middle, with Edinburgh forced to concede the penalty with just a minute on the clock.
Yet the hosts would withstand the early barrage from Danny Wilson’s men, bringing down Jack Dempsey just feet from the line. It would then be the turn of the capital outfit to go on the attack, catching their visitors offside to give Emiliano Boffelli a shot at goal from 35 metres out. The full-back pulled his kick wide, but made amends when presented with a second chance on 15 minutes after a Chris Dean break to give Edinburgh a 3-0 lead.
The response from those in white and blue was immediate, as they set about making steady headway into Edinburgh territory. George Turner was firmly to the fore, the hooker’s dynamism with ball in hand on multiple carries during the phases causing Edinburgh no end of issues. When referee Andrew Brace eventually penalised the hosts for not rolling away, Ross Thompson made no mistake to level the scores after 21 minutes.
Momentum was swinging to and fro at the home of Scottish rugby, and it would be those in Edinburgh colours celebrating the first try of the night on the half-hour mark. Successive penalties saw the hosts kick to the corner, and whilst the initial drive for the line was stopped short the ball was kept alive long enough to allow Blair Kinghorn to stretch out and touch down. Boffelli converted, making it the full seven points for the home side.
Once more, Glasgow came straight back as they looked for a breakthrough of their own. Sione Tuipulotu and Josh McKay’s breaks took the Warriors into Edinburgh territory, before a high shot on Turner in midfield gave Thompson another opportunity from the tee. The fly-half duly bisected the posts, narrowing the gap to 10-6.
The final word of the opening stanza, though, would belong to Edinburgh. A somewhat theatrical collision between Boffelli and Ryan Wilson saw the latter penalised, with the Edinburgh full-back kicking the points for a 13-6 lead at the break.
It would be the hosts who would come out of the blocks the quicker from the restart, with Mike Blair’s men rewarded with their second try of the evening on 45 minutes. An inside ball off the scrum saw Darcy Graham break the gain line, and from the next phase Dean would send Magnus Bradbury over the whitewash. Boffelli’s conversion hit the uprights, but the Edinburgh fans were celebrating.
Glasgow’s woes would deepen on 51 minutes, with Rob Harley shown a yellow card for slapping the ball out of Henry Pyrgos’s hands. With the second-rower in the sin-bin, Boffelli would extend Edinburgh’s lead from the tee, taking the scores to 21-6 on the hour mark.
Edinburgh were in control of proceedings as the game entered the final quarter, and confirmed their grip on the tie with their third try after 63 minutes. A helter-skelter passage of play saw Graham and Rufus McLean trade line breaks, before turnover followed turnover in the middle third of the field. It was from the final of those turnovers that Edinburgh found the breakthrough, Damien Hoyland cutting inside to dive over the whitewash. Boffelli added the extras, and the home side led 28-6.
Glasgow knew that they had to gamble, as they sought a way back into both the fixture and the 1872 Cup. Fresh from the bench, the replacement half-backs sparked life into the Glasgow attack; a flat ball from Domingo Miotti sent Ollie Smith through a gap in midfield, before Jamie Dobie’s snipe took Glasgow to within five metres. It was then left to Miotti and Smith to combine once more in a moment of sheer magic, the Argentinian’s cross-field kick plucked out of the air by Smith in a sublime leap and finish for the try. The conversion drifted wide, but Glasgow were rallying.
Yet try as they might, it would be Edinburgh’s evening in the capital. Managing the game to it’s conclusion, the final score of 28-11 saw the 1872 Cup and Scottish-Italian Shield lifted by Edinburgh hands, consigning the Warriors to the Challenge Cup next season and a quarter-final trip to Leinster in a fortnight’s time.
Kick-off 5:30 pm