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GLASGOW PREVAIL AT SWAMPED SCOTSTOUN

Glasgow Warriors: 23 (17) Edinburgh Rugby: 14 (3)



Given results hitherto this season, the 1872 Cup is the only competition that Edinburgh are still in contention for.  And they named a strong squad for tonight's derby clash at Scotstoun, with Greig Laidlaw returning to scrum half inside  Francis at 10.  Glasgow were similarly strong, with new signing Maitland at right wing and this column's favourite Glasgow player, Rob Harley, at blindside.

 On a surface holding up reasonably well despite the recent deluge, Laidlaw made his mark in the first minute, charging down a languid Jackson clearance. The little general nearly created a score shortly after as Edinburgh broke down the blindside with some good close passing, but the final ball just went forward.  Edinburgh looked to have the attacking edge in the early exchanges.  But it was Canadian winger DTH van der Merwe who surged over off fine passes from Jackson and Murchie in a well executed move on seven minutes.  Horne missed the conversion from wide out to leave Glasgow 5-0 up on eight minutes.

And they nearly notched another immediately afterwards, a clean break in midfield see them power to the Edinburgh 22, but the visiting defence recovered to clear the danger.  There was already a bit of derby niggle about this match, Nel and Grant squaring off after a scrum penalty.  After an awful Francis pass in midfield in an attacking position had led to turnover ball, Glasgow broke downfield.  When they got little change in close to the line in the right, they spun the ball wide.  DTH nearly forced his way over before Harley crossed in the corner.  Horne missed a similar wide conversion attempt, but Glasgow were 10-0 up after only 15 minutes with the Gunners looking decidedly ragged.

And again, Glasgow were on the attack, their tails up.  DTH once again made good ground on the Edinburgh right wing, an area of real defensive weakness tonight.  The Gunners badly needed to get some field position and keep the ball for a bit.  But instead Maitland was inches from the line after another Glasgow break.  The quick thinking of Glasgow's Fijian scrum half Matawalu was at the heart of much of their good work.  The Warriors were rampant at the end of the first quarter and looked like they could score at any moment.  And DTH looked to have done so on 24 minutes, sliding over on a loose ball, the TMO eventually giving the score, this time Murchie knocked over the extras, to put Glasgow 17-0 up and cruising for a bonus.

Eventually Edinburgh gained some territory on the half hour.  Their forward drives were going nowhere, but eventually the penalty award came.  Laidlaw put the visitors on the board at last with the three pointer.  And they enjoyed some territory shortly afterwards, starting to stretch the enemy defence, but a pointless kick to DTH allowed Glasgow to clear easily.  17-3 Glasgow at the half and they could have been further ahead.

Laidlaw was first on the board in the second period with a penalty for Glasgow's pack being ahead of the kicker on 45 minutes. There was a feeling that WP was starting to get an edge on Ryan Grant in the scrummage.  And Matt Scott's playmaking powers conjured a try for Francis.  Tonight's outside centre straightened the line beautifully to cut through the defence on half way, then timed his pass perfectly for his supporting stand off to just about stagger over for the unconverted try.  Glasgow 17-11 up and Edinburgh were clawing themselves back into it with half an hour to go and Laidlaw starting to dictate from scrum half with quicker ball.

And the Gunners' defence had now turned up, ferocious tackling on the hour foiling Glasgow's first concerted attacking spell in the half.   But replacement stand off Weir put Glasgow nine points ahead with a penalty from in front of the posts on 66 minutes as the home side seemed to be regaining momentum. A silly Low penalty at the breakdown shortly afterwards gave Laidlaw a chance to narrow the gap to six once again, which he duly took.  An equally silly penalty for a Yapp high tackle immediately afterwards gave Weir his second successful penalty.  23-14 Glasgow with nine minutes to go.

A super piece of work by Duncan Weir on the touchline saw a chase for the ball over the Edinburgh line which Laidlaw won - just.  But the game was being played in the wrong part of the field from an Embra perspective and the clock was ticking as the scrum was collapsing.  And Glasgow smashed the Gunner scrum for a penalty, which they sensibly kicked to the corner, looking for the try bonus.  But Edinburgh's scrummage eventually earned them a penalty to relieve the pressure and at least deny Glasgow the try bonus.

In the end, the Gunners' awful performance in the first period gave them too much to do in the second.    Once again in the Inter-City, it was the side that wanted it most that prevailed.