Glasgow v Edinburgh: Talking points before the 1872 Cup second leg


The 1872 Cup tie fell victim to a frozen artificial pitch last weekend
The 1872 Cup tie fell victim to a frozen artificial pitch last weekend
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow Date: Saturday, 16 January Time: 17:15 GMT
Coverage: Listen live on BBC Radio Scotland and follow live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app

After last weekend’s tie was postponed just 20 minutes before kick-off, Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh pick up where they left off for the second 1872 Cup derby of the season on Saturday.

Should Edinburgh win at Scotstoun, they will retain the trophy for a fourth straight season, while Glasgow are just as desperate for victory to provide some light in what has been a fairly grim campaign up to this point.

Are you not entertained?

The first derby of the season was on 2 January. It was not one for the ages.

After 65 minutes not a single point had been scored and we were staring at the horrendous prospect of a 0-0 draw. To say there was a late flurry is stretching it, but Edinburgh eked out a 10-7 victory.

The 1872 Cup showdown is the only professional men’s rugby match taking place in the UK on Saturday, so do the coaches feel an obligation to put on a more attractive spectacle?

“If you want entertainment, go to the theatre,” says Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill. “Rugby players play the game to win.

“I don’t think we will have a gentlemen’s agreement where we say, ‘We won’t kick, we’ll just wing it about and whoever wins we’ll just share the points’. It’s not how elite sport works, is it?”

Glasgow head coach Danny Wilson adds: “The win is the most important thing. Having said that, the best chance of us winning against Edinburgh is to play some rugby.

“Our intent to attack was there in the last game, we attacked a lot more than the opposition. We want to play, but in the right place at the right time.”

Nakarawa is back

One of the big disappointments in this most testing of seasons has been Leone Nakarawa. The big Fijian was brought back to Glasgow last year amid much fanfare having been a key cog in the club’s Pro12 title-winning season of 2015.

Injuries, fitness issues, personal matters back in Fiji and of course the coronarvirus pandemic have contributed to Nakarawa missing almost a year of rugby. Now he’s back in the squad and could make his return on Saturday from the bench.

“It’s a long time for any player not to be playing, so it is going to take him some time to settle back into things, but we’re all excited about having him on the field,” says Wilson.

“It’s the start of the process of returning him to the X-factor player that he is and I hope we see glimpses of that in the game. He’s a special player and I’m chuffed he’s back.”

Edinburgh’s statement of intent

In light of the news that Scotland international Duhan van der Merwe, and to a lesser extent lock Andrew Davidson, had agreed moves away from Edinburgh to the English Premiership next season, questions were asked of the club’s ambition.

The club and the Scottish Rugby Union made big moves to answer those questions by tying up Hamish Watson on a new deal, and followed that up by securing the services of similarly coveted back-row partner Jamie Ritchie this week.

“Everyone here has the appetite to keep our best players at the club, or as many as we are physically and financially able to do,” says Cockerill.

“Both players were very keen to stay and build on what we are doing, to see the club getting stronger. We’re trying to be good enough to compete consistently year in, year out and give ourselves the best opportunity to win a trophy.”

What would it mean to win the derby?

The Pro14 table should probably be viewed through gaps in fingers of Scottish rugby fans. Glasgow are rock bottom of Conference A, while Edinburgh are one place better off in Conference B.

To work their way into the European qualification places, both sides must pick up some form and a derby win could be the perfect springboard.

“Recent form has been non-existent because we haven’t been able to play,” admits Cockerill.

“The game is important in itself but also for the league points and getting ourselves in a position where we can qualify for Europe next season. We want to win because it’s Glasgow and we need the points.”

Wilson says victory would be “massive” for his side, adding: “There would be a real buzz about the place.

“There’s four guys from the academy playing which is a great message for the future and a great opportunity for those guys to show what they’re capable of.”

How do they line up?

Glasgow: H Jones; L Jones, Grigg, Fergusson, McLean; Thompson, Price; Seiuli, Turner, Fagerson, Gray, S Cummings, Wilson (capt), Gordon, Fagerson.

Replacements: Matthews, Lambert, Pieretto, Nakarawa, Harley, Dobie, Thomson, Smith.

Edinburgh: Kinghorn; Blain, Bennett, Dean, Sau; van der Walt, Groom; Sutherland, Cherry, Berghan, Toolis, Gilchrist, Bradbury, Watson, Mata.

Replacements: Willemse, Schoeman, Nel, Hodgson, Crosbie, Pyrgos, Chamberlain, Johnstone.

BBC News