Glasgow Warriors 19
DAVID BARNES @ Murrayfield
EDINBURGH made hard work of it at times but pulled away in the end for a decisive victory over arch-rivals Glasgow Warriors, to avenge last weekend’s defeat in the first leg of the 1872 Cup tri-series and gain five valuable points in the race for PRO14 play-off and Champions Cup qualification at the end of this season.
The result briefly took Edinburgh to the top of Conference B of the PRO14 on points difference, although Munster edged back ahead of them later last night [Saturday] after picking up a losing bonus-point in their home defeat to Leinster.
Loose-head prop Pierre Schoeman was official man-of-the-match, but Darcy Graham was the toast of Murrayfield at the end after demonstrating his blistering pace to run in his team’s opening and closing tries.
It was a yo-yo encounter which could have gone either way going into the final 10 minutes, but Edinburgh capitalised on a few Glasgow mistakes to deprive the visitors of even a bonus-point.
The home team looked livelier in the opening minutes but it was the visitors who had the first scoring opportunity when a rushed clearance kick refused to bounce kindly for Mark Bennett and the Edinburgh centre ended up getting isolated, prompting WP Nel to enter the ruck from the side in an attempt to rescue possession. A penalty was awarded, and it all came to nothing because Adam Hastings miscued his shot at goal.
Edinburgh then took the lead in sensational style. The move started with Duhan van der Merwe rampaging from his own 22 to over the halfway line, knocking Ruaridh Jackson onto his backside along the way. When the big winger was eventually grappled down, a quick recycle created options on the left but Ben Toolis’ poor pass put paid to that. Edinburgh did, however, retain possession and a few seconds later Viliame Mata indicated that he might be about to return to his irrepressible best after a quiet post World Cup period with an exquisite backhanded offload out of contact, which sent Darcy Graham haring up the right touchline – throwing out a breath-taking jink to leave Ratu Tagive clutching at thin air as the flying Hawick man scooted into the scoring zone.
Warriors responded with real intent and, after a sustained bombardment of the Edinburgh line, they exploited an overlap on the right with Huw Jones hitting the killer line off a Jackson pass, and effortlessly stepping back inside Nic Groom on his way to the line.
Edinburgh dominated possession and territory for the remaining 14 minutes of the first half but couldn’t crack the nut again, and it was still 7-7 at the turnaround.
A ruck infringement allowed Simon Hickey to kick Edinburgh back into the lead nine minutes into the second half, but Warriors once again bounced right back with Hastings flashing through a gap to take Warriors to within a few yards of the Edinburgh line, but Pierre Schoeman managed to get over the ball at the ruck to win a holding-on penalty – only for that decision was immediately reversed by referee Mike Adamson after the TMO highlighted a no-arms tackle by Jamie Ritchie and Callum Gibbins. A few minutes later, Scott Cummings blasted his way over the line and Hastings’ conversion made 10-14.
It looked like Edinburgh had snatched back the lead with another blistering try when Matt Scott hit a devastating line from quick line-out ball and flew past the flailing DTH van der Merwe then slid into the post with about four Warriors players hanging onto him – but after consultation with the TMO, referee Adamson decided that he had been held-up.
If Edinburgh were frustrated by that decision, they responded in the best possible way. Having been awarded the scrum-five, Mata picked up the base and it took so many men to bring him down that Henry Pyrgos was able to emerge from his slip-stream for an unchallenged dart to the whitewash.
But once again, Glasgow bounced right back – or should we say Edinburgh once again failed to contain the inevitable backlash – and within three minutes the visitors were back in front when George Horne nipped over from close range for his team’s third try.
To their credit, Edinburgh then did to Glasgow exactly what Glasgow had done to them by bullying their way right back upfield, kicking a not-rolling-away penalty to the corner then claiming a penalty try with a fearsome line-out drive. Jonny Gray’s yellow-card for pulling the maul down made this an even more decisive moment in the match, leaving Glasgow with only 14 men for the final nine minutes of the contest.
Unlike the three previous occasions in this match in which they had taken the lead, on this occasion Edinburgh commanded control again straight from the restart, and they finished with a flourish when a fumble by Nick Grigg was shifted across to Graham on the right touchline, and there was no stopping the pocket-rocket as he motored all the way home from 40 yards – clinching the four-try bonus point and depriving Glasgow a consolation bonus point for good measure.
Edinburgh: B Kinghorn; D Graham, M Bennett, G Taylor (M Scott 56), D van der Merwe; S Hickey (J van der Walt 62), N Groom (H Pyrgos 51); P Schoeman (J Bhatti 74), S McInally (M Willemse 36), W Nel (S Berghan 44), B Toolis, G Gilchrist, J Ritchie, H Watson (M Bradbury 56), V Mata.
Glasgow Warriors: R Jackson; R Tagive (N Matawalu 67), H Jones, S Johnson, D van der Merwe; A Hastings (N Grigg 62), A Price (G Horne 56); O Kebble (A Seiuli 56), F Brown (G Turner 67), Z Fagerson (A Nicol 79) S Cummings, J Gray, R Harley, C Gibbins, R Wilson (T Gordon 71).
Referee: Mike Adamson
Edinburgh: Try: Graham 2, Pyrgos, Penalty Try; Con: Hickey 2; Pen: Hickey.
Glasgow Warriors: Try: Jones, Cummings, Horne; Con: Hastings 2
Scoring sequence (Edinburgh first): 5-0; 7-0; 7-5; 7-7 (h-t) 10-7; 10-12; 10-14; 15-14; 17-14; 17-19; 24-19; 29-19.
Yellow cards –
Glasgow Warriors: Gray