A DESERVED if at times laboured victory over their old rivals has given Glasgow a substantial lead to take into the second and final leg of the 1872 Cup at BT Murrayfield on 21 May. Perhaps more significantly, it has taken them back up to third in the URC - at least until the rest of the weekend’s fixtures - to keep them very much in the running for a home play-off.

Tom Gordon scored the Warriors’ first two tries in the first half of a match in which they were never behind, but it was Josh McKay’s second-half touchdown that was the crucial score. While Edinburgh had hit back twice to level, they had no answer to the full-back’s try which put them 24-17 behind, and two late penalties from replacement stand-off Ross Thompson simply emphasised the superiority of the home side over the piece.

“At the start of the second half we gave them an avenue back into the game, but we were pleased with the reaction off the back of that,” Warriors assistant coach Pete Murchie said. “The pleasing thing is we stuck in, we found a way, and we wrestled back control of the game. We’re in a good place in the league, we’ve got a bit of momentum behind us, and now we welcome back our international players.”

Edinburgh, meanwhile, remain fifth in the table and are still in the running for a home play-off, but now face a tricky double-header in South Africa against the Sharks and the Lions. “It’s a shame we didn’t get something out of it,” their head coach Mike Blair said. “We’re disappointed. 

“I would have loved it if we had finished this mini-block of games with a good performance. We wanted the win obviously, but also a really good performance, and I don’t think we got that tonight.”

The prowess of the home pack was on display from the opening minutes, and eventually, after they were twice held up on the line, the pressure told, with Gordon burrowing over from a couple of metres out to open the scoring, and Duncan Weir adding the conversion.

Edinburgh had barely been out of their own half up to that point, but they conjured up a riposte within a couple of minutes. First a quarterback sneak from Henry Pyrgos was halted short, but a few phases later Glen Young finished off from close range. Emiliano Boffelli levelled with the conversion.

A ten-minute spell followed in which the teams tested each other with deep kicks, but with almost half an hour on the clock the Warriors regained the lead. A clearance by Jaco van der Walt was fielded on the full by Sebastian Cancelliere, Stafford McDowall joined in the attack, and then with the defence out of position Gordon was able to make it to the line for his second score, again converted by Weir. 

Edinburgh’s reply was immediate once more, but this time they had to content themselves with a Boffelli penalty after a timely intervention by Josh McKay had stopped the Pumas international from scoring a try. A four-point lead at the break would have been scant reward for the Warriors’ domination, but a Weir penalty in the closing minute restored their lead to seven.

Buoyed by the introduction of Boan Venter and Magnus Bradbury, the Edinburgh pack began the second half in more dynamic fashion, and within minutes Venter touched down following a lineout drive. Boffelli’s conversion drew the teams level again.

The visiting side then pressed hard in search of the score that would put them in front for the first time in the game, but after a loose ball was seized on by Cancelliere, the winger made inroads upfield before passing to McKay. The full-back had some 40m to go to the line, but he had the speed to outstrip the defence. Ross Thompson, not long on for Weir, added the two points, then stretched his team’s lead into double figures with a penalty 15 minutes from time. Another three-pointer five minutes later merely emphasised the superiority of the home side over the piece.


Glasgow: Tries: Gordon 2, McKay. Cons: Weir 2, Thompson. Pens: Weir, Thompson 2.

Edinburgh: Tries: Young, Venter. Cons: Boffelli 2. Pen: Boffelli.

Glasgow Warriors: J McKay; S Cancelliere, R Fergusson (S Tuipulotu 41), S McDowall, C Forbes; D Weir (R Thompson 55), J Dobie; M Walker (E McQuillin 77), J Matthews (G Stewart 73), S Berghan (N McBeth 41), S Cummings, R Gray, R Wilson (captain, K McDonald 51), T Gordon (A Miller 62), J Dempsey. 

Edinburgh: H Immelman; R Moyano, M Currie, C Dean (C Hutchison 55), E Boffelli; J van der Walt (C Savala 66), H Pyrgos (captain, B Vellacott 62); H Courtney (B Venter 41), D Cherry (A McBurney 66), A Williams (L de Bruin 60), P Phillips, G Young (J Hodgson 55), B Muncaster, C Boyle, M Kunavula (M Bradbury 41). 

Referee: H Davidson (Scotland).

Attendance: 7,531.