Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh: Battle of the young stand-offs as Ross Thompson takes on Nathan Chamberlain in 1872 Cup decider
Both coaches have kept faith with their youthful fly-halves which means Ross Thompson of Glasgow Warriors will be up against Nathan Chamberlain of Edinburgh.
With just 18 first-team appearances between them, the pair are still in their rugby infancy but both are Scotland under-20 internationals and are tipped for a bright future in the game.
Thompson made his Glasgow debut off the bench in this season’s first 1872 Cup clash, a narrow loss at BT Murrayfield at New Year. He then started the return game and was named man of the match as the Warriors beat Edinburgh 23-22 to tie the three-match inter-city series.
He has kicked on since, establishing himself as a key performer in Danny Wilson’s side.
“Ross has had a brilliant season,” said Wilson, the Glasgow coach, who has given Thompson a vote of confidence after last month’s heavy defeat by Benetton in Italy. “By his own admission he has played a lot more rugby than he expected and now we’ve got to put some faith in him.
“He has plenty of work-ons and learnings from the last game, but we’ve got to back him and give that opportunity.
“There will be times when we don’t pick him for whatever reason but this week, I think it is important he gets a chance to go again, and hopefully we’ll see a return to some of the performances we’ve seen previously this season.
“He made his first start in the derby we won at home, and he’s had some really good games at home. Probably for Ross it is learning a little but about the away experience when the tactics are sometimes slightly different, but at home he has had some really good performances.
“It won’t daunt him. Not much has daunted him. He’s a very calm, cool customer, and I think he’s excited about playing a big game like this, so we’ll see how he goes.”
Chamberlain has had fewer outings than his Glasgow counterpart and the Rainbow Cup match represents a big chance for the former Bristol academy player.
Jaco van der Walt, Edinburgh’s frontline stand-off, has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury, so opportunity knocks for the 21-year-old Chamberlain and coach Richard Cockerill is intrigued to see how he performs against Thompson.
“They’ve both gone well when they’ve had the opportunity and it’ll be interesting to see how they go in the pressurised situation of a derby game,” said the Edinburgh coach.
“Running the game and having the pressure of a local derby means this will be Nathan’s toughest game so far, although obviously he did pretty well when he played in Connacht and was good against Zebre. So it’ll be interesting to see how those two guys go.
“There’s a good balance in there, with some younger guys on the bench as well. It’s as strong a side as I could have picked considering who’s available.”
Hamish Watson, newly named in the Lions squad for South Africa, sits out the match
“Hamish has got a slightly tight groin so considering what is ahead of him I think it’s prudent that we look after him,” said Cockerill.