Glasgow Warriors 24
DAVID BARNES @ Millbrae
IT was fun in the sun at Millbrae as two tries in the final quarter hauled Edinburgh back from the abyss to secure the win over Glasgow Warriors in an entertaining Super6 Sprint Series pro-alignment clash. There was four tries apiece, cross-field kicks from second-rows, and a bout of fisticuffs in the second half to prove that this wasn’t just an end of term jolly for the players. It was an enjoyable change in gear for players, coaches and spectators.
“Tours and representative rugby, you sometimes lose the specialness of these kinds of matches when you are in your bubble and it is competitive all the time,” reflected Stirling County head coach Ben Cairns, who was part of a triumvirate of former Scotland centres overseeing the Glasgow team, alongside Pete Horne of Ayrshire Bulls and Graham Shiel of Boroughmuir Bears.
“So, I felt I found that again this week and I think the boys have as well, in terms of coming together and just enjoying playing the game of rugby.”
“It’s annoying to lose it from 24-14 and feeling like we were in control, but with the changes both teams made during the final quarter, they got a bit of dominance in the set-piece, we struggled scrum and line-out wise, and the game flipped a bit,” he added. “I thought the boys played some really good rugby at times, and we definitely scored the best try of the game with Logan Trotter‘s score under the posts at the start of the second half.”
Glasgow drew first blood when Marcus Holden crashed over with less than three minutes played, but the stand-off failed to convert his own score, and the lead soon swung Edinburgh’s way when Wallace Nelson capitalised on a yawning gap at the side of a ruck and rampaged home from 15 yards, Jason Baggott firing home the conversion.
It was fairly scrappy stuff, as you would expect in a game between two select side who have had just a week to prepare, but both teams had come to play, with Warriors the slightly more dangerous looking during the first half. Holden came within a whisker of an interception off Rory Brand which would have given him a clear run at the line from halfway but he couldn’t quite hold onto the ball, then loose-head George Breese showed impressive pace on a charge up the right touchline.
Not to be outdone, second-row Adam Sinclair got in on the act with a Russell-esque cross-field kick, which wasn’t far away from its intended target, while Connor Gordon put Brand on his backside with a ferocious hand-off.
Edinburgh had their moments as well, most notably when Baggott snaffled possession inside his own 22 and made 45-yards before being squeezed into touch by Elias Cavan.
It was was a fair reflection of the overall balance of play when Warriors recaptured the lead with five minute left in the half through a Jerry Blyth-Lafferty try of the back of a line-out maul.
But, just as happened after the opening score, Edinburgh managed to secure possession and field position from the restart, and after several pulsating phases of pressure the capital side scored their second try through Billy Wara in the corner, with Baggott kicking the conversion on the stroke of half-time to make 10-14.
Glasgow wasted little time re-establishing their lead at the start of the second half, with Rory Jackson collecting his team’s kick-off and scrum-half Ruaridh Swan scrambling over for the try, and they scored again straight from the restart with a sweeping attack featuring Aaron Tait, Swan, Mike Gray and finished off by Trotter, with Holden converting on both occasions.
Edinburgh winger Wara and Glasgow back-rowGordon were both sent to the cooler for 10 minutes after the latter took objection to the former’s dump tackle on Trotter.
During that period of 14 versus 14, Edinburgh hauled their way back into the match when Dom Coetzer ghosted through midfield and sent Kyle Godsmark under the posts, and with Baggott making it three conversions from three, it was back to a three-point game.
Then, with five minutes left on the clock, Coetzer’s eye for a gap ripped Glasgow wide open again, this time from inside his own 22, and it was Baggott who finished off, running it home from a good 30-metres to score a late winning try for his team for the second week on the trot.
Glasgow: L Trotter; E Caven (S Hamilton 47), M Gray (L McNamara 47), R Beattie, A Tait; M Holden, R Swan (E McAra 55); G Breese (C Smith 50), J Blyth-Lafferty ( J Drummond 47), M Scott (C Henderson 62), R Jackson, A Sinclair, L McNamara (T Andrews, 50), C Gordon, B Grant.
Edinburgh: J Jenkins; B Wara, N Godsmark, D Coetzer, A Cross (G Cannie 50); J Baggott, R Brand (J Gelderbloom 53); H Courtney, M Liness (C Fenton 53), A McWilliam (M McGinley 20), J King, F Hastie, K van Niekerk, W Nelson (G Nelson 50), K Main ( S McGinley 50).
Referee: Hollie Davidson
Glasgow: Tries: Holden, Blyth-Lafferty, Swan, Trotter; Cons: Holden 2.
Edinburgh: Tries: Nelson, Wara, Godsmark, Baggott; Cons: Baggott 3
Scoring sequence (Glasgow first): 5-0; 5-5; 5-7; 10-7; 10-12; 10-14 (h-t) 15-14; 17-14; 22-14; 24-14; 24-19; 24-21; 24-26.
Yellow cards –
Glasgow: Gordon (56mins)
Edinburgh: Wara (56mins)
Man-of-the-Match: Classy midfield breaks from Edinburgh centre Dom Coetzer created two tries during the final quarter which swung this match his team’s way.
Talking point: It wasn’t a huge crowd at Millbrae, and there was several leading lights of the recent Super6 Sprint Series absent, including the entirety of the Scotland Under-20s squad, but there was still a sense that this was an occasion apart from the grind of the regular season – as was evident with the buzz amongst the players as they mingled on the pitch after the final whistle.