Edinburgh v Glasgow: URC points head east but 1872 Cup stays in the west

Duhan van der Merwe wonder try secures capital victory

Edinburgh's Darcy Graham and Glasgow Warriors' Sione Tuipulotu greet each other after 80- minutes of ferocious battle in the 1872 Cup.Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Edinburgh's Darcy Graham and Glasgow Warriors' Sione Tuipulotu greet each other after 80- minutes of ferocious battle in the 1872 Cup.Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Edinburgh 19

Glasgow Warriors 14

DAVID BARNES @ Murrayfield

EDINBURGH held their nerve and their discipline to grind out a win which brought them four valuable league points, but not the 1872 Cup, which has headed back west with the Warriors  (thanks to their better aggregate score over the two inter-city matches played during this festive window).

A 70-yard try by Duhan van der Merwe following great work from Darcy Graham to secure a turnover was the decisive moment with nine minutes of the match remaining, but Edinburgh ‘senior’ coach Sean Everitt praised the collective efforts of his team afterwards.

“We chatted during the week about the 1872 Cup and we had to differentiate between the two,” said Everitt. “It is a vital win as far as the URC is concerned and we are delighted with that as it keeps us in touch with the top four teams. Yes, we are disappointed not to win the 1872 Cup but when you are chasing a score you tend to become too risky and concede.

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“We are playing in one of the best competitions in the world so we want our four points,” he added. “Things would have been a bit different if we had a better start as it was a bit shaky. With the music playing the boys couldn’t hear the nomination at the start of the game [and let the kick-off bounce] so that is something we have to look into. That put us under pressure and we conceded a soft seven so it was always going to be tough from then against a team that started the weekend in the top two in the league.

“Discipline was better [then last week] and I am proud of the efforts the boys put in as we know the effort and small margins it takes to win games like this. The guys worked incredibly hard and it was our defence that was outstanding and won us the game tonight. The guys were resilient and determined, especially when Glasgow got into our half in the first half. We kept them out and won turnovers. We haven’t done well in that department through the year but there was an improvement last week and this.”

For Warriors, there was some consolation in retaining the silverware and picking up a losing bonus-point which could be key in the final shakedown at the end of this URC campaign, although a potentially serious knee injury suffered by Rory Darge is a cause for concern for the club and the national team.

This result leaves them third in the table at the halfway stage  on 31 points, two points behind league leaders Leinster who play their game in hand at home to Ulster on New Year’s Day. Edinburgh are now five points behind Glasgow in fourth place in the table.

“I’ve just told the guys that winning a trophy is what people play for,” said Warriors head coach Franco Smith. “We still managed to keep them away from winning the trophy by not allowing them to overturn the aggregate score. We still got the bonus point from the game, which they didn’t get at Scotstoun [last week] so I’m really, really proud. We still won on merit, by a long shot, and that’s important. That’s why we participate in this game to get those rewards.”

Smith added that he is now looking forward to giving his players a week off, with no matches scheduled next weekend, before attention turns to their final European Champions Cup pool matches, against Exeter Chiefs away on 13th January then Toulon at home six days later.

“Some of the guys have came from the World Cup and, although they’ve had some time off, this will be a proper week at home,” he reasoned. “Our opposition have to play this weekend and next weekend so that can give us an opportunity to reset physically to bounce back into Europe.”


Glasgow drew first blood in familiar fashion when Johnny Matthews propelled himself over the line off the back of a powerful line-out maul for his 10th club try of the season, with George Horne slotting the touchline conversion for good measure.

Edinburgh came close to cancelling out that early score on 15 minutes when Ben Healy ghosted through a gap in midfield and got to five metres out, but there was no support and Pierre Shoeman‘s laboured attempt at sending slow ball towards the left touchline was picked off by Glasgow’s cover defence.

There was no let-off for Glasgow 10 minutes later, however, when the visitors were guilty of standing-off Edinburgh as they attacked from scrum ball inside their own half, allowing Darcy Graham to ask some tricky questions in the right-hand corner, sucking in the Warriors defence, before the ball was transferred back across the park for Mark Bennett to send Matt Currie over in the corner with an excellent 20-yard pass executed in full stride. That made it 5-7 to the visitors at the break.


Viliame Mata was perhaps fortunate to escape a card early in the second half when he was caught flat-footed by Josh McKay and ended up catching the New Zealander on the side of the head with his shoulder, and Edinburgh made the most of that reprieve with two excellent kicks behind from Ali Price pinning Glasgow back inside their 22 and earning a not-rolling-away penalty against Huw Jones, which Healy turned into three points, giving his side a slender single-point lead with 52 minutes played.

Edinburgh charged back onto the offensive straight from the restart, with Price’s quick-wittedness releasing van der Merwe up the left touchline, and the scrum-half – who did his international prospects no harm here – carried the move on himself, before popping superbly off the deck to the galloping Glenn Young. The Edinburgh coaching team screamed frantically for a Glasgow side-entry when the Edinburgh second-row was eventually brought down but it wasn’t forthcoming, so Ewan Ashman and Currie kept momentum going with a couple of powerful bursts, only for Schoeman to lose control as he tried to rip and go off Jamie Ritchie.

Instead, it was Glasgow who struck next to regain the lead, when Sione Tuipulotu‘s offload out of contact sent Stafford McDowall on a 20-yard rampage past three weak tackles from Luke Crosbie, Currie and Wes Goosen on his way to the line, and Horne nailed the touchline conversion.

That was a bad score to lose, but Edinburgh’s ability to stay in touch was key to this gritty win, and they hauled it back to a three-point game with another Healy penalty awarded against Ross Thompson for not rolling away.

The next 10 minutes were a contest of cat and mouse, with Glasgow pinning Edinburgh back deep inside their own 22 with a couple of shrewd kicks which forced goal-line drop-outs, before the game burst back into life on 72 minutes whenGraham executed a sensational turnover on the tackled Scott Cummings then set off up the left touchline, before releasing his big palvan der Merwe on that 70-yard dash all the way to the line.

Healy slotted his third penalty of the match with three minutes left to play, from right in front of the posts after Zander Fagerson was guilty of taking out Ben Vellacott at the back of a ruck, and that was enough to ensure the four league points  but not the 1872 Cup  would be Edinburgh bound.


Teams –

Edinburgh: W Goosen (E Boffelli 70); D Graham, M Bennett, M Currie, D van der Merwe; B Healy, A Price (B Vellacott 59); P Schoeman (B Venter, 62), E Ashman (D Cherry 62), W Nel (D Rae 77), G Young (M Sykes 58), G Gilchrist, L Crosbie, J Ritchie (H Watson 60), V Mata.

Glasgow Warriors: J McKay; H Jones, S Tuipulotu©, S McDowall, K Rowe (B Afshar 60); T Jordan (R Thompson 62), G Horne; J Bhatti (N McBeth 53, Z Faerson 73), J Matthews (G Turner 53-79), Z Fagerson (O Kebble 60), S Cummings, R Gray (M Williamson 54), T Gordon (G Peterson 53), R Darge (H Venter 54), A Miller.

Referee: Mike Adamson


Scorers –

Edinburgh: Tries: Currie, van der Merwe; Pen: Healy 3.

Glasgow Warriors: Tries: Matthews, McDowall; Con: Horne 2.

Scoring sequence (Edinburgh first): 0-5; 0-7; 5-7 (h-t) 8-7; 8-12; 8-14; 11-14; 16-14; 19-14.


Yellow cards –

Edinburgh: Sykes (80 mins)


Attendance: 37,904

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About David Barnes 4030 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. A good game and Edinburgh deservedly just edged it. Darcy’s steel to free Duane won the match so not normally the sort of action you expect from a winger.

    Glasgow with a complete international back row missing did well and thought their defence was pretty good all game. With Darge now injured and Peterson gone they are going to be seriously threadbare in the forwards. Also massively stretched on the wing with Jones playing there and regularly ending up with Horne on the wing. Come the 6 Nations I cant imagine what sort of side they will be able to cobble together.

  2. A fair result I think. The key to Glasgow’s season from now will be how quickly and how many players return from injury – and are not then drafted into the Scotland 6Ns squad.

  3. Check out the difference between the “Big Game” at Murrayfield and the Big Game at twickenham hours later and that tells you all you need to know between the gulf in both quality on the field and off. We’re Miles behind and loosing ground rapidly. Zero quality in yesterday’s game. Zero.

    • Really.I thought there was some pretty good stuff and thoroughly enjoyed the nip and tuck of a close game with some excellent tries.Maybe seeing through Edinburgh-centric eye,of course!

    • What do you base that on. The standard in the Edinburgh v Glasgow game was pretty good so you’re very wide of the mark with your comments. There was a lot of quality in yesterdays game – a lot of it defensively.

    • You’re miles of the mark, so full of negativity. I remember playing Georgia with nearly a full Murrayfield yet England with 10 times the population shut the top tier stands the same week end when they played Fiji. There is so much good happening up here compared to many other countries. Yes there are many issues ahead of us but don’t knock for the sake of knocking.

      • There is so much good happening up here compared to many other countries. Can you explain what exactly. Playing numbers in freefall, clubs struggling to put out one team let alone the three XVs when I played, youth rugby and player pathways a mess, an SRU hierarchy that is sucking desperately needed money out of the game, stagnating attendences at Edinburgh and falling at Glasgow. Murrayfield the other day was just the annual good day out for the International only crowd as your diehard club supporters are getting priced out the market by the greedy hands of Dobson and his narcistic and totalitarian regime and do not forgot the £10m + loss and wholly unsustainable structure now in place. We are a tier 2 nation masked by our complete reliance in importing anyone who is willing to come and play for Scotland with of course huge wages in excess of 250K a year. Our squad at the world cup in France had the second highest percentage of players not born or developed in our own country. The countries where good is happening includes but is not limited to the likes Chile, Portugal and Uruguay who of course obilterated our U20s in Kenya.

  4. Oh aye Darcy Graham is magnificent (enroute to witness the last Northumberian sunrise of the year)

  5. Hope Darge is OK.
    Ramblings ….. Crosbie looking almost back to his best, if you combine Edinburgh wingers with Glasgows centres🤔…… Ashman still not no be trusted at hooker, Edinburgh need a quality 12, I like Young.
    Almost cancelled each out in a way.

  6. Huge crowd, top players signed, more signings to come, 3rd and 4th going into 2024, not bad. Well done to all involved. 😊.

  7. Better team won on the day, but couldn’t agree more that the injury count is mounting and really starting to hurt… could yet see Grant Stewart back at hooker the way it’s going.

    Those that are fit are playing well, but could be a very tough watch with a very resurgent Exeter then Toulon….

  8. Some crowd at nearly 38k, in good voice also. Think we can see Glasgow’s injury list is now hurting them badly, factor in Paterson leaving , possible head nocks to Turner and Mathews limping off, the bench not only looks thread bare the team looks thread bare. Only light was I thought Venter looked good when he came on made some good runs. I also thought the ref was very under protective of our 9 particularly in the last 20, he was being constantly barged of the ball.
    We now have two really tough games against a resurgent Exeter and never easy Toulon to stay in the EPCR games. It does not look good.
    That said well done to Edinburgh and VDM who looked the part today.

    • Not to mention Darge and Jordan as well.

      Almost more injured than available — hope the week off helps those who are on the mend.

      The injury list won’t help the 6 nations either!

      Agree Edinburgh were the better side and deserved the win. I too would rather have had the URC points rather than the cup!

    • Not sure I would claim the crowd was in good voice – was like a funeral until vdm scored – not helped by the Murrayfield PA system denying everyone the possibility of conversation during every break. Call me old fashioned if you want but it’s bloody awful. Can’t we just switch it off and save some cash?

      • Couldn’t agree more, Nagasaki! – even pitch side interviews were practically drowned out. Do Murrayfield really consider their patrons are so mentally deficient that they need to be entertained if there is a 30 second break in play? And as for that squawking woman at the 6 nations…


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