Need to Know: Edinburgh v Glasgow Match Preview

KO 3.05 at BT Murrayfield Stadium, Sunday 27th December
Buy tickets here
Live on BBC Alba

Team Talk
The first leg of the 1872 Scottish Cup sees Glasgow name their least experienced line-up since their full complement of internationals returned from the RWC. This will be the first time Warriors 23 has had less than 1,000 previous matches since the Leinster game back in October. Edinburgh welcome back Ben Toolis who’s named in the 23 alongside his twin brother Alex (the 4-minute man) for only the 4th game in their time at Edinburgh.


15 Jack Cuthbert
14 Dougie Fife
13 Michael Allen
12 Matt Scott
11 Tom Brown
10 Phil Burleigh
9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne
15 Stuart Hogg
14 Taqele Naiyarovoro
13 Mark Bennett
12 Peter Horne
11 Tommy Seymour
10 Finn Russell
9 Grayson Hart

1 Rory Sutherland
2 Ross Ford
3 WP Nel
4 Anton Bresler
5 Alex Toolis
6 Mike Coman (c)
7 John Hardie
8 Cornell Du Preez

1 Ryan Grant
2 Fraser Brown
3 Sila Puafisi
4 Leone Nakarawa
5 Jonny Gray (c)
6 Ryan Wilson
7 Chris Fusaro
8 Adam Ashe

16 Neil Cochrane
17 Allan Dell
18 John Andress
19 Ben Toolis
20 Jamie Ritchie
21 Sean Kennedy
22 Greig Tonks
23 Andries Strauss

16 James Malcolm
17 Gordon Reid
18 Zander Ragnar Fagerson
19 Tim Swinson
20 Simone Favaro
21 Ali Price
22 Sam Johnson
23 Lee Jones

Glasgow Greetings / Edinburgh Introductions:
First 1872 Cup appearances for 8 players (Naiyarovoro, Puafisi, Ashe, Malcolm, Fagerson, Favaro, Price, Johnson) on the black and blue team and 6 players (Allen, A. Toolis, Hardie, Dell, Ritchie, Kennedy) on the black and red side.

Matchday Milestones:
Grayson Hart will become the first player to play for both Glasgow and Edinburgh in an 1872 Cup game (with Lee Jones becoming the second when he comes off the bench).

Warriors One to Watch / Edinburgh Ego to Eyeball
For Glasgow the focus is likely to fall heavily on one man – Finn Russell. On paper the team from the West have a significant advantage in the backline and Finnocent is the man who has to get them ticking. It’s not just about creativity though, his kicking – which was poor last week against the Scarlets – will need to be accurate if the Warriors are to control the game.

Trying to stop Russell will be Embra’s own John Hardie. A key man in disrupting the flow of possession to the Glasgow outside backs, Hardhorse will need to be at his best at the breakdown where the Warriors will look to gain an advantage to offset any ground they need to make up from having the (on paper) weaker setpiece.

Head to Head:
Back 3 – ADV Glasgow
Centres – ADV Glasgow
Half Backs – EVEN
Front Row – ADV Edinburgh
Second Row – ADV Glasgow
Back Row – ADV Edinburgh
Subs – ADV Glasgow

Toony’s Track Record…
…against Edinburgh:

  • 5 wins, 1 loss. 1 Try BP. 21 points in total.
  • That solitary bonus point puts Edinburgh on the same level as Leinster, Munster and Ospreys – 1872 Cup matches have rarely been try-fests.

Last season’s match-up:

Tries scored by Tim Visser – all the more impressive when you consider that he only touched the ball 4 times! Edinburgh took their chances and were far more efficient than a wasteful Glasgow side who were in a scoring slump that saw them only managing 7 tries in 9 games.

Scrum penalties awarded – 6 against Glasgow and 4 against Edinburgh. At times the set piece was a bit of a lottery and both sides had untidy ball and unsatisfactory possession to deal with. Embra definitely had the edge though and will be looking to repeat the dose on Sunday.

Metres run with the ball by Josh Strauss – one of his lowest totals of the season. Glasgow struggled to get their big ball carriers into the game and even when they did they failed to make an impact. David Denton made 27 metres for Edinburgh – more than the rest of the pack combined. Success (or otherwise) on the gain line will be crucial and the battle of the back rows will go a long way to deciding which side wins the collisions and gets on the front foot.

Number of times Edinburgh kicked away the ball. On another day, with a Glasgow back 3 in better form, handing the Warriors possession like this would likely have been punished far more severely. As the Scarlets learned to their cost it’s certainly a bad idea to pick out Taqele Naiyarovoro and give him a run up…

Total number of tackles made in the game – the second lowest of the season for both sides. For all the talk in the build-up recent fixtures have lacked intensity with little pace or tempo in the game. Given the significance of league points for both teams hopefully this season will see a little more blood and thunder.

Home and Away:
Away wins have been rare beasts in the history of Edinburgh v Glasgow fixtures. Since the inception of the Celtic League and through the Pro 12 era the sides have met on a dozen occasions in the capital and the Warriors have only emerged victorious in 3 of those games

Referee: John Lacey (IRFU, 48th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Sam Grove-White, Bob Nevins (both SRU)
Citing Commissioner: Iain Goodall (SRU)
TMO: Iain Ramage (SRU)

Glasgow have experienced Mr. Lacey’s game management on 5 occasions over the past couple of seasons and the penalty count has not been kind to the Warriors. The Irish whistler has had one of the highest average crime counts over this period and has awarded 13.6 pens per game against the men in black and just 8.4 in their favour. He also carded 3 Edinburgh players last season so the Gunners can’t expect to have things all their own way.

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