Need to Know: Glasgow v Edinburgh Match Preview

KO 5.15 at Sold Out Scotstoun Stadium, Saturday 2nd January
Live on Sky

Team Talk
Glasgow’s 8 changes add some experience (over 200 more past appearances than last week’s 23) and leadership to the side that lost the first leg – but 2 of the key players could well be Ali Price and Zander Fagerson who only have 6 previous starts between them. Coming in at 10 is Duncan Weir who has played Edinburgh on 7 occasions and has yet to taste defeat. Alan Solomons understandably keeps changes to a minimum and will be looking for more of the same from his charges this week. 6 of the 16 players listed on the benches have played for both clubs.


15 Stuart Hogg
14 Taqele Naiyarovoro
13 Mark Bennett
12 Peter Horne
11 Sean Lamont
10 Duncan Weir
9 Ali Price
15 Jack Cuthbert
14 Dougie Fife
13 Michael Allen
12 Matt Scott
11 Damien Hoyland
10 Phil Burleigh
9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne

1 Gordon Reid
2 Fraser Brown
3 Zander Fagerson
4 Greg Peterson
5 Jonny Gray (c)
6 Ryan Wilson
7 Chris Fusaro
8 Josh Strauss

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

16 Shalva Mamukashvili
17 Ryan Grant
18 Sila Puafisi
19 Leone Nakarawa
20 Hugh Blake
21 Grayson Hart
22 Peter Murchie
23 Lee Jones

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

Glasgow Greetings / Edinburgh Introductions:
There are only three 1872 Cup virgins this week – Shalva Mamukashvili, Hugh Blake and Damien Hoyland are the lucky cherry-poppers.

Matchday Milestones:
Ryan Wilson is elevated to the ranks of the Warrior Centurions with his 10th career appearance in the 1872 Cup – the most among the current Glasgow squad (incidentally he’s joined by no less than 4 players who will only be 5 or less games from bringing up their own ton – Weir [97], Murchie [96], Horne [95] and Lamont [95]). On the Edinburgh side Ross Ford will run out for the 16th time in this fixture – no-one else from either the East or West coast has played more of these matches than the man from Kelso.

Warriors One to Watch / Edinburgh Ego to Eyeball
Peter Horne may well have a dual role to play on Saturday. He’ll start out as a play-maker at 12, bringing Glasgow’s main strike runners into the game and providing a secondary kicking option. The latter stages could see a move in one to flyhalf which will provide the Edinburgh back row with a different kind of threat to contain from the more structured play of Duncan Weir.

It will be the battle of the beards at number 8 as Cornell Du Preez finds himself up against Josh Strauss this week. While John Hardie may have been the stand-out player from the first leg, CDP was not far behind him with an excellent all-round performance. The return of Ben Toolis should give the black and red another carrying option but the big South African is still likely to dominate the action when Edinburgh are in possession.

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

Toony’s Track Record…
…against Edinburgh:

  • 5 wins, 2 losses. 1 Try BP. 21 points in total.
  • Only the 3 Irish sides and Scarlets have given up less league points than Edinburgh in the Townsend era.

Last season’s match-up:

Passes thrown by the Edinburgh back 3 – compared to 15 by their Weegie counterparts. The first leg of the cup this year saw a black and red backline that seemed more willing to move the ball (although chances out wide were still limited) so this year’s Scotstoun match-up may see a good contest across the pitch.

Total lineouts lost by both teams combined – from 26 throw-ins. Neither side was able to get much pressure on the opposition. After last Saturday Edinburgh will expect more of the same this year but Glasgow will need to sharpen up to get good quality possession at the set piece.

Tackles missed by Edinburgh – the fewest by any team against Glasgow last season. This stifling defence restricted the scoring opportunities for the Warriors and kept the tie close enough for the East coasters to complete the the largest comeback in 1872 Cup history in the second leg.

Tackles made by the Edinburgh back row – with only 1 missed. The recently retired Roddy Grant was a perfect 15 from 15 (33 from 33 across both legs of the 1872 Cup) as he showcased his defensive abilities and massive workrate. Expect more of the same from John Hardie on Saturday.

Metres run with the ball by Josh Strauss – more than the Edinburgh starting pack combined. The big number 8 and his ability to get over the gain line is key to the quick, front-foot ball that Glasgow want to play with.

Home and Away:
Throughout the Celtic League and Pro 12 era Edinburgh have only managed a single win in Glasgow, coming away from Hughenden with the points after a 25-16 victory back in December 2003.

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (IRFU, 66th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Lloyd Linton, Graeme Wells (both SRU)
Citing Commissioner: John Montgomery (SRU)
TMO: Jim Yuille (SRU)

Mr. Fitzgibbon has refereed both Scottish sides already this season. Edinburgh are probably still questioning the final decision in their game away to Zebre which cost them a losing bonus point. Glasgow will have happier memories with a season low in the Pro 12 of just 6 penalties conceded against the Ospreys. Mr. Fitzgibbon is quite a fussy referee at times – although he can also fluctuate between letting everything and nothing go at the breakdown. How he views the shenanigans at the scrum will also have an impact on territory, possession and scoring opportunities.

Picture courtesy of Adrian Henry. Visit Rugby People for more of Adrian’s fine work.

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