Need to Know: Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors pt III, PRO14 Match Preview 2017/18

KO 7.45 Murrayfield
Saturday 28th April
Live on Sky Sports Action

Three – it’s the magic number apparently. Hopefully that’s the case for the third Edinburgh / Glasgow fixture in the space of 4 months as part of a rivalry that’s maybe not provided the greatest entertainment in recent years. This won’t be the first time the two sides have met three times in a season after a trio of Scottish Inter-District Championship matches in both 1998/99 and 1999/2000. In fact in 2002/03 the pro teams played no less than four matches in a single campaign providing a veritable feast of deja vu action for Scottish rugby fans (let’s brush over the fact that Glasgow only won one of those encounters…)


15 Blair Kinghorn
14 Dougie Fife
13 James Johnstone
12 Chris Dean
11 Duhan van der Merwe
10 Jaco van der Walt
9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne
15 Stuart Hogg
14 Tommy Seymour
13 Nick Grigg
12 Sam Johnson
11 DTH van der Merwe
10 Finn Russell
9 George Horne

1 Jordan Lay
2 Stuart McInally (c)
3 Simon Berghan
4 Ben Toolis
5 Grant Gilchrist
6 Magnus Bradbury
7 Jamie Ritchie
8 Viliame Mata

1 Alex Allan
2 Fraser Brown
3 Zander Fagerson
4 Tim Swinson
5 Jonny Gray
6 Matt Fagerson
7 Callum Gibbins
8 Ryan Wilson (c)

16 Neil Cochrane
17 Alan Dell
18 WP Nel
19 Lewis Carmichael
20 Cornell Du Preez
21 Nathan Fowles
22 Duncan Weir
23 Mark Bennett

16 George Turner
17 Jamie Bhatti
18 Siua Halanukonuka
19 Robert Harley
20 Chris Fusaro
21 Henry Pyrgos
22 Peter Horne
23 Lee Jones

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

Once A Warrior / Erstwhile Edinbuggers:
The respective benches are a haven for ex-Weegies (Duncan Weir, Mark Bennett) and rehabilitated Embra-men (George Turner, Lee Jones).

Matchday Milestones:
It’s 100 up for DTH van der Merwe as he becomes the latest player to join the ranks of the Warrior Centurions. DTH made his Glasgow debut back on 3rd October 2009 against Cardiff Blues and becomes just the 3rd foreign international among the Centurions after Cook Islander Tommy Hayes and fellow Canadian Kevin Tkachuk.

Warriors One to Watch:
Besides his starring role in the Instagram videos of skipper Ryan Wilson the pocket rocket that is Nick Grigg has been having another strong season for Glasgow. He’s the club’s top man for defenders beaten and his combination of good running lines and ability to stay on his feet make him a potent attacking threat. Squiggsy combines well with inside centre Sam Johnson in a partnership that surely has to be named Sick Jigg…

A quick mention for Edinburgh’s Neil Cochrane who will be playing one of his last games before he calls time on a lengthy career. So lengthy in fact that he scored a try for Rotherham Titans in a friendly against the Warriors all the way back in 2005. Among his opponents that day were current Edinburgh chief executive Jon Petrie and the black and red’s new signing for next season John Barclay.

The Edinburgh v Glasgow fixture in the PRO12/PRO14 era:

  • 3 wins
  • 1 draw
  • 3 losses
  • 1 Losing Bonus Point
  • 15 points out of a possible 30 (50%)

This season’s previous match-up:

Clean breaks by Glasgow – compared to just 2 for Edinburgh. The East coasters played a canny game after going down to 14 men early on following Simon Berghan’s sending off. They sacrificed most opportunities to get their wide men involved in favour of pragmatism and taking control of the game. This is a more confident Edinburgh side though and if they keep 15 men on the pitch they will look to get their very dangerous runners like Blair Kinghorn and Duhan van der Merwe into the game on a regular basis.

Tackles attempted by Warriors’ openside flanker Matt Smith. This is a fine example of how Glasgow’s young guns have been like hyperactive puppies this season with work rates that are frequently topping the stats among their teammates. That said on this occasion Dave Rennie will be hoping his side have a bit less to do in terms of defensive duties and spend more time attacking their capital cousins with ball in hand.

Percentage of territory for the Warriors in the second half at Murrayfield. Edinburgh also dominated possession in the second period (62%) and did everything they needed to do to come away with an unlikely win. Glasgow need to spend a lot more time on the ball and a lot more time in the home side’s half of the pitch if they want to contain Richard Cockerill’s resurgent troops.

Home and Away:
Edinburgh last 6 in PRO14 (H) – W W W W W L
Glasgow last 6 in PRO14 (A) – L W D L L L

Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)
AR1: Mike Adamson (SRU)
AR2: Dunx McClement (SRU)
TMO: Neil Paterson (SRU)

Mr. Owens’ record in Warriors’ fixtures from 2013 – 2017:

Matches – 11 (118 for all refs)
Average penalty count – 15.1 (19.1 all refs)
Average penalties for Glasgow – 6.6 (9.6 all refs)
Average penalties against Glasgow – 8.5 (9.5 all refs)
Yellow cards – 4 in total (1.0 per game all refs)

This will be Mr. Owens’ 34th time refereeing a Warriors’ game. Or arguably 35th – the very first time Glasgow encountered the future Test match official in a competitive fixture was in Pontypridd in November 2000. Mr. Owens had to abandon the Welsh-Scottish league match at half-time due to the pitch being flooded! Since then he’s been a regular for big games involving Glasgow. This will be the 2nd time he has taken charge of an 1872 Cup clash.

It’s also the 3rd time the Welsh whistler has taken charge of a Warriors’ match in the current campaign. The previous 2 games have seen a fairly even penalty count but, contrary to his usual reticence to dismiss players, Mr. Owens’ issued both Munster and Cardiff Blues with a yellow and red card each when they played against Glasgow’s finest. Edinburgh might need to be on their best behaviour if they don’t want to become part of an unwanted hat-trick (although maybe going down to 14 men is a tactical option for the home side after last time…)


  1. The 1999-2000 season saw very nearly 6 Glasgow – Edinburgh matches! A postponement saw one of the matches jointly held – which obviously meant 5 matches instead.

    The first match was in Canada during the pre-season, when Glasgow and Edinburgh both went to play Canadian / South American teams in the Canadian Tri-Continental Tournament. Predictably both Scottish teams met in the final… in Ontario; where Glasgow ran out 30-10 victors.

    Next were the two scheduled Welsh-Scottish League matches. Glasgow beat Edinburgh at Murrayfield in September. The home match at Hughenden was scheduled for December but it was postponed; and a decision was made to make the first match of the Tri-Series at the end of January a joint WSL match.

    The hated Tri-Series – the format of 3 professional matches of the reduced Scottish Inter-District Championship – managed to linger on in its last year as sponsors pulled out of the format so the SRU ran it without a sponsor. Fans hated the Tri-Series as the ‘best of three’ gave the potential for a final ‘dead rubber’ match. So it proved this season with Glasgow winning the first two matches… and then Edinburgh then won the meaningless game at the end – the only match that Edinburgh won against Glasgow that season.

    I would have thought the SRU would have took the history of the Tri-Series into account and kept the 1872 Cup as an aggregate tournament rather than a best of three.

    Hopefully they will change it back to aggregate again. I guess questions will be asked when either Glasgow or Edinburgh wins the first two matches going forward.

    Liked by 1 person

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