Glasgow Warriors 11
DAVID BARNES @ Murrayfield
AFTER a scrappy first half in which both teams struggled to hold onto the ball long enough to really impose themselves, Edinburgh fired out the traps at the start of the second period to score the game’s decisive try through man-of-the-match Magnus Bradbury, and they never looked back.
This win booked the capital side’s place in the European Champions Cup next season and a United Rugby Championship quarter-final play-off appointment against the Stormers in two weekends’ time, while the margin of victory means that the 1872 Cup has returned east.
It was another dispiriting experience for Warriors, who have now lost four away matches on the bounce, and who were often architects of their own downfall here through childlike indiscipline from senior players, soft turnovers and various other careless errors. They will now play in the second-tier European Challenge Cup next season, and must face the might of Leinster in Dublin in the URC play-offs.
Having uncharacteristically missed a seventh minute shot at goal, when Sione Tuipulotu got in the way of Ben Vellacott as he tried to move the ball from the base of a ruck, Emiliano Boffelli made amends when an offside gave him another bite at the cherry 10 minutes later.
Glasgow squared it on 21 minutes with Ross Thompson kicking the points following an Edinburgh offside, and they had their best spell of the match during the next five minutes, but then surrendered the initiative when skipper Ryan Wilson was needlessly penalised for his role in a bout of pushing and shoving.
Edinburgh marched up the field and when Bradbury was bundled into touch just yards from the try-line play was called back for an earlier infringement – an Ali Price for an offside – and this time the hosts took full advantage with Darcy Graham‘s dancing feet pulling the opposition defensive line out of shape and Blair Kinghorn spinning out of a Sam Johnson tackle then stretching over the line. Boffelli added the conversion to make 10-3 with just over half an hour played.
Thompson narrowed the gap to four points just before the break when Luke Crosbie was penalised for playing the ball on the deck, but that score was immediately cancelled out by Boffelli when Glasgow captain Ryan Wilson gave away an obstruction penalty at the restart.
A barnstorming run by Luke Crosbie up the left touchline at the start of the second half put Edinburgh onto the front foot, and they scored their second try off a well-executed set-piece move which featured Darcy Graham coming off his wing to make ground in the middle of the park and Chris Dean delivering a perfect no-look pass which sent Bradbury thundering under the posts.
Glasgow were reduced to 14-men when Rob Harley was sin-binned for trying to slap the ball out of Henry Pyrgos’ hands at the base of a ruck, and a Richie Gray offside allowed Boffelli to nudge Edinburgh 15-points ahead – which, crucially, gave the home side an aggregate lead in the 1872 Cup contest.
The game opened up with 20 minutes to go. Dean and Graham had both made good yardage for Edinburgh in separate attacks, while Jack Dempsey and Rufus McLean did likewise for Glasgow, before the hosts got try number three. It was a cracker, with Mark Bennett doing well to generate momentum out of a loose pass which didn’t go to hand, Kinghorn carrying the move on and Boffelli providing the link to send Damien Hoyland over.
In fairness, Warriors rallied to score a fine try through Ollie Smith off an inch-perfect Domingo Miotti cross-kick, which opened up the prospect of getting back to within 13 points of Edinburgh, but that was as close as Danny Wilson‘s side got.
A special mention is due the Edinburgh front-row, with 36-year-old WP Nel and just back from injury Dave Cherry both playing 74 minutes, Pierre Schoeman playing the full 80, and the home scrum still winning penalties with 10 minutes to go, which says a bit about the character of that trio and the team in general.
Edinburgh: E Boffelli; D Graham (J van der Walt 74), M Bennett, C Dean (J Lang 60), D Hoyland; B Kinghorn, B Vellacott (H Pyrgos 34); P Schoeman, D Cherry (A McBurney 74), W Nel (L Atalifo 74), J Hodgson (M Sykes 60), G Gilchrist, L Crosbie (B Muncaster 64), H Watson, M Bradbury.
Glasgow Warriors: O Smith; J McKay, S Tuipulotu, S Johnson (S McDowall 71), R McLean; R Thompson (D Miotti 64), A Price (J Dobie 64); J Bhatti ( N McBeth 67), G Turner (J Matthews 69), Z Fagerson (S Berghan 67), R Harley (K McDonald 65), R Gary, R Wilson, T Gordon (G Brown 58), J Dempsey.
Referee: Andrew Brace
Edinburgh: Tries: Kinghorn, Bradbury, Hoyland; Con: Boffelli 2; Pen: Boffelli 2
Glasgow Warriors: Try: Smith; Pen: Thompson 2.
Scoring sequence (Edinburgh first): 3-0; 3-3; 8-3; 10-3; 10-6 13-6 (h-t) 18-6; 21-6; 26-6; 28-6; 28-11.
Yellow cards –
Glasgow Warriors: Harley (50 mins)