THE 1872 CUP clash between Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh, which was supposed to be played at Scotstoun this [Friday] evening with a 7.35pm kick-off, has been called off less than 30 minutes before kick-off due to a frozen pitch.
PRO14 have said they “will immediately begin to identify a new date to play this fixture” but home head coach Danny Wilson stated that he does not expect this to be a 24 or 48 hour postponement.
“I have been told, presumably because of other broadcast commitments, that it won’t go ahead this weekend,” he said. “I don’t know if that is absolutely confirmed, but I’ve been told that won’t be tomorrow and I’m 99% sure it won’t be this weekend because broadcasting is an issue.
“The nightmare scenario tonight is that the pitch was fine at lunchtime, it was fine in the afternoon and when I arrived around 3.30pm, but as the night has gone on and the temperature has dropped to -1, -2, -3 … it has got to a place where the closer to kick-off the more frozen it became,” he continued.
“And the scenario that killed it was the scrum. Edinburgh went into the scum part of their warm-up before we did and they felt straightaway that they couldn’t keep their studs underneath them. They weren’t digging into the ground because it was too hard, so it wasn’t safe to scrum and therefore it wasn’t safe to play.”
This is the latest set-back for Glasgow in a a season which hasn’t been short of challenges. They’ve struggled to build any sort of momentum, not helped by a fairly extensive injury-list, the loss of around a dozen players for the best part of two months during the Autumn Test window, and three games being called off die to Covid-related issues.
“There is a fair bit of uncertainty in everything at the moment,” shrugged Wilson. “It is a case of waiting to see what we can and cannot do. This season has all been about reacting on the hoof.
“Look, it’s frustrating. We trained on it Thursday. It was tough on Thursday morning, but come later in the day it was fine for contact and scrums. Yesterday we did a team run on it and it snowed, but it was cleared and it was fine.”
Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill was in a brusk mood after his team lost out on an opportunity to double-up on last weekend’s 1872 Cup first-leg victory over Edinburgh.
“It is disappointing. It’s no one’s fault. You would have preferred it to be looked at earlier and we don’t get to this point for everyone’s sake,” he said on TV, immediately after the decision. “It’s an all-weather pitch so I’m not quite sure how that works.”
“We arrived at the ground, the players went out to do their primer – their warm-up just before the main warm-up – and a few of the players were saying the far side was very hard,” he later explained.
“It was hard to get any purchase. Obviously, the plastic grass on the top was soft, but underneath it was very hard and it wouldn’t take a stud.”
“Myself and Stu McInally, with Mikey Adamson [the match referee], went and had a look. The ground-staff came with us and they did some work on it. Then we continued with the warm-up as normal, but once we got to the scrummaging on that far side, all the front-row players couldn’t get any grip at all with the front four studs and just slipped straight to their faces, so it was impossible to scrummage on.
“It certainly wasn’t fit to play on because we couldn’t scrummage, which after last week would obviously be a pretty important part of the game.”
“You want to play, don’t you? So, you’d like to think you might not get to this point – but it’s a cold night,” he added. “I don’t know whether the pitch has been trained on all week. It’s not for me to really talk about. We’ve turned up as the away team to play a game and the pitch isn’t fit – there’s nothing else I can say to it, really.”