Edinburgh Rugby 29-19 Glasgow Warriors: Capital club tie 1872 Cup series with thrilling win
Winger Graham scores twice in front of big BT Murrayfield crowd
Edinburgh Rugby defeated Glasgow Warriors 29-19 to tie the 1872 Cup at one win apiece in a pulsating match at BT Murrayfield.
The Capital side grabbed four tries in front of a healthy crowd of 27,437 to exact revenge on their rivals after losing the first leg 20-16 at Scotstoun last week, picking up much-needed Guinness PRO14 points in the process.
It also means the winner of the old trophy will be decided in the final match between the two clubs at the end of May next year.
Edinburgh knew nothing less than a victory was required after a sore defeat in Glasgow, but it was the visitors who had the first opportunity to get some points on the board. However, Adam Hastings' penalty from range lacked accuracy.
The majority of the match was being played in Edinburgh territory, but that all changed on 18 minutes. First, Duhan van der Merwe made 60 yards with an impressive break from his own twenty-two. With the Warriors on the back foot, the hosts recycled the ball out to Bill Mata and he made a sumptuous one-handed off-load for Darcy Graham to score the game's opening try. Simon Hickey added the extras for a 7-0 lead.
To Glasgow's credit, they responded immediately and after a bout of sustained pressure, Huw Jones took advantage of an overload on Edinburgh's left to get Warriors' first try. Hastings made no mistake of the conversion for 7-7.
Edinburgh were dealt a blow just before half-time when captain Stuart McInally was forced off injured and Mike Willemse replaced him as the first half meandered to its conclusion.
Richard Cockerill's men troubled the scoreboard first in the second half, Hickey booting over a penalty after Glasgow were pinged for offside to make it 10-7 for the hosts.
Edinburgh's inability to hold on to a lead for any tangible period of time again came back to haunt them. After Jamie Ritchie was penalised for a dangerous tackle, Glasgow worked through a couple of set plays and lock Scott Cummings barrelled over the Edinburgh line. With Hastings converting, Glasgow led for the first time, 14-10.
Edinburgh brought on centre Matt Scott for George Taylor and the experienced Scotland internationalist made an instant impact on the hour mark. He burst through the Glasgow defence and looked set to score, only for Warriors full-back Ruaridh Jackson to perform some incredible defensive heroics, putting his arms in between the ball and the post protector to stop the try.
However, Glasgow's respite was short-lived as from the resultant scrum, substitute No.9 Henry Pyrgos nipped over and with Hickey converting, Edinburgh moved 17-14 ahead and the game had well and truly crackled into life.
Once again, the lead see-sawed back into Glasgow's hands as George Horne found a way over the tryline in the corner, but the degree of difficulty of the kick for Jackson left the score beautifully poised at 19-17 to the Warriors.
Edinburgh wrestled the lead back again with the most significant moment of the match as it entered the final ten minutes. A huge forward push put them on to Glasgow's line and referee Mike Adamson awarded a penalty try for Glasgow bringing down the maul, with Jonny Gray sin-binned for his infringement. With a man extra and a 24-19 lead, the momentum had swung in Edinburgh's favour.
Warriors made one final push for a response, but it was Edinburgh who clinched the points in some style, counter-attacking with verve as Graham sped away to score in the corner and despite Jaco van der Walt missing the conversion, it gave Edinburgh a crucial 29-19 victory.
Edinburgh Rugby: B Kinghorn; D Graham, M Bennett, G Taylor (M Scott 57), D van der Merwe; S Hickey (J van der Walt 63), N Groom (H Pyrgos 52); P Schoeman (J Bhatti 75), S McInally (c) (M Willemse 36), WP Nel (S Berghan 45), B Toolis, G Gilchrist, J Ritchie, H Watson (M Bradbury 57), V Mata. Unused replacement: L Carmichael.
Glasgow Warriors: R Jackson; R Tagive, (N Matawalu 64), H Jones, S Johnson, DTH van der Merwe; A Hastings (N Grigg 63), A Price (G Horne 57); O Kebble (A Seiuli 57), F Brown (G Turner 66), Z Fagerson (A Nicol 80), S Cummings, J Gray, R Harley, C Gibbins (c), R Wilson (T Gordon 74). Unused replacement: A Ashe.
Referee: Mike Adamson