Edinburgh 10-7 Glasgow Warriors: Hosts make Brandon Thomson pay for profligacy
There has been little to separate these teams in recent years and this was another tight encounter which took over an hour to come to life. Edinburgh eventually prevailed 10-7, with all the points coming in the final 17 minutes.
Magnus Bradbury scored Edinburgh’s try, capitalising on a sloppy pass from Glasgow stand-off Brandon Thomson who was also guilty of missing a simple penalty in the first half. Jaco van der Walt added the conversion to an earlier penalty.
Glasgow’s response was a try from Lewis Bean, converted by fellow sub Ross Thompson, but it was too little too late for the visitors who at least have the consolation of a losing bonus point.
The Warriors will rue Thomson’s missed penalty. The stand-off fluffed a match-winning opportunity with the final kick of the game against Dragons last month and was similarly profligate at Murrayfield.
These matches are decided by such small margins. In the last ten years of the 1872 Cup the sides have met 39 times and the overall score now stands at 19 wins apiece, with one draw.
Glasgow went into the game without 14 players due to injury and Covid-related issues but still fielded a strong-looking XV, even if their bench seemed a little light.
Edinburgh began brightly and looked keen to dispel the notion that they are reluctant to play much running rugby, with van der Walt sparking an early move, shipping the ball to Hamish Watson who in turn played in Chris Dean. But, with options outside him, the centre took the ball into contact and, when it was recycled, Henry Pyrgos’ kick was too long.
Glasgow butchered a good opportunity in the early minutes when they kicked a penalty to touch deep into their opponents’ 22. But George Turner overcooked his throw and Watson gathered at the back of the lineout to snuff out the danger.
It was to be a rare excursion into Edinburgh territory for the visitors who found themselves pinned back in their own 22 for much of the first 20 minutes. The home team were turning the screw but lacking a little accuracy. Edinburgh’s forwards were looking in the mood and they were awarded a penalty seven yards out. They opted for the scrum but it backfired when they were penalised for not putting in quickly enough.
The respite for the Warriors was only brief and Edinburgh quickly reasserted their authority, using multiple pick-and-gos in an attempt to breach the visitors. But the Glasgow defence repelled them and when Pyrgos tried to find Blair Kinghorn with an ambitiously long pass, the ball was intercepted.
Edinburgh were starting to look a little one-dimensional with Graham and van der Merwe cutting isolated figures on the flanks.
Glasgow had shown great character to deny their opponents and were beginning to edge their way back into the game. When Pyrgos’ box kick was charged down they sensed an opportunity and the ball was moved to Huw Jones in a central position. The full-back galloped forward from halfway and his foray was rewarded when Pyrgos was penalised for stopping the offload.
The penalty was fairly central and inside the home side’s 22 but Glasgow stand-off Thomson struck it wide. It was a bad miss, leaving one to ponder how much he had been affected by his failure in front of the posts with the final kick of the game against Dragons last month.
Nevertheless, Glasgow ended the pointless first half in decent shape and were worthy of parity.
The Warriors quickly reasserted themselves after the interval and a smart chip over the top caused problems for Edinburgh. Kinghorn let the ball bounce and was bundled into touch by Ratu Tagive. Glasgow, three metres from the tryline, could sense a breakthrough but now it was Edinburgh’s turn to show their defensive fortitude. They withstood the pressure and when referee Sam Grove-White pulled up Glasgow, the Edinburgh forwards celebrated with gusto. The visiting pack were decidedly irked and there was a brief coming together. Glasgow captain Ryan Wilson claimed the ball had been thrown in the face of an Edinburgh player but Grove-White was content to award a scrum to Edinburgh.
But the home side were struggling to clear their lines and from an Edinburgh lineout close to their own 22, Glasgow stole the ball and moved it quickly right only for the move to falter. It was becoming a recurring theme, with both sides lacking a clinical edge.
The freezing conditions weren’t helping, with cold hands and a general bluntness contributing to the paucity of chances.
The breakthrough finally came with 15 minutes remaining. Glasgow had enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and territory in the second half but it was the home side who took the lead. A questionable penalty award 40 metres out offered van der Walt the chance to have a pot at goal and the newly capped Scotland stand-off duly delivered.
Edinburgh’s tails were up and they stretched their lead three minutes later with a long-awaited try. Bradbury, the replacement flanker, was the grateful recipient of a gift from Glasgow. Thomson threw a wild pass to inside centre Sam Johnson which went over his head. The ball went loose and was hacked on by van der Walt, with Bradbury winning the race to the line.
The Edinburgh man dived on the ball but his connection was not the cleanest and the try was only awarded after a consultation with the TMO convinced Grove-White there had been downward pressure. Van der Walt kicked the conversion to put Edinburgh 10-0 ahead with little over ten minutes remaining.
It was a sore one for Glasgow but they mounted a desperate attempt to salvage something from the match and were rewarded with a late, late try from replacement forward Bean, who powered over from close in after a period of Warriors pressure on the home line.
Ross Thompson, making his debut off the bench, drop-kicked the conversion with his left foot.
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