"We didn't really fire a shot": Edinburgh coach can't hide disappointment after defeat by Glasgow
Mike Blair felt Edinburgh were not proactive enough and “didn’t really fire a shot” as Glasgow seized the initiative in the 1872 Cup with a 16-10 first-leg victory at Scotstoun.
There were only two tries in a hard-fought match – scored by Glasgow's Jack Dempsey and Edinburgh's Connor Boyle – but the hosts' clinical kicking ultimately proved the difference. The teams meet again in a week's time at Murrayfield, where Edinburgh will feel they can overturn that six-point advantage to retain the old trophy.
“We're disappointed,” said Blair, the Edinburgh head coach. “I felt we didn't really fire a shot in the game. Glasgow came out with more intent at the start, showed really good physicality.
"We did manage the game well into the wind and put ourselves into a position with a breeze behind us and only three points in it. That was our time to kick on but Glasgow made more of their opportunities than we did. At half-time we talked about what it takes to win derbies. It's not always the flashy rugby. It's being in the moment, making good decisions at the right time.
"We didn't show ourselves until the last two minutes when we're playing with desperation. We should be confident in what we're trying to do, proactive, not waiting until we have to do something. We did get one point out of it, which is not great but it's something."
Both sides made late changes ahead of kick-off. Glasgow promoted Lucio Sordoni, who was not even in the initial 23, to the starting line-up, with Murphy Walker dropping to the bench after Nathan MacBeth, who was among the subs, was forced to withdraw. For Edinburgh, who were already without a string of key men through injury, Harry Paterson came in for just his second appearance after Wes Goosen was deemed unfit for action.
The visitors spurned a good chance to get the first points on the scoreboard in the fifth minute when Emiliano Boffelli – kicking into the wind – sent a penalty wide of the posts from a central position.
The Argentine's kicking once again let him down eight minutes later when he kicked another penalty against the post. Those missed kicks proved costly as Glasgow made the breakthrough in the 28th minute when Dempsey received a pass from George Horne and powered beyond a challenge from Chris Dean to touch down over the line. Horne duly added the conversion.
In the last action of the half, Horne kicked a close-range penalty to give Warriors a 10-0 lead at the interval. But Edinburgh made a strong start to the second half and they got themselves back in the game when Boyle powered his way over following a line-out near the Glasgow line. This time, Boffelli was successful with his conversion.
“The try was a reflection of us as a forward pack,” said Boyle. “When we get in those corners, we know we can score from those.
“In the game, if we'd been a bit more disciplined, used our kicking game a bit better then we'd have had more opportunities to do that. It was slippy, but we practice with slippy balls so I don't think it affected us too much.”
The hosts – having been on the back foot for much of the second half – extended their lead to six points in the 67th minute when Tom Jordan kicked a close-range penalty. And Jordan then kicked another penalty in the 75th minute to put Glasgow more than a converted score ahead of their visitors. Jaco van der Walt gave Edinburgh a glimmer of hope with a long-distance penalty in the 79th minute, but it proved too little, too late.
Byle added: “That's a game we're disappointed with. As a team, our physicality underpins everything – we did that more consistently second half. Hopefully we can put things right next week.”
Glasgow Warriors: McKay, Cancelliere, Tuipulotu, McDowall, Steyn (C), Jordan, G Horne; Bhatti, Brown, Sordoni, Manjezi, R Gray, Fagerson, Vailanu, Dempsey. Replacements: Turner, Walker, Berghan, Du Preez, Bean, Price, Miotti.
Edinburgh: Paterson, Boffelli, Lang, Dean, Van Der Merwe, Savala, Vellacott; Schoeman, Cruse, Nel, Young, Gilchrist, Ritchie, Boyle, Mata.
Replacements: Harrison, Venter, Williams, Sykes, Muncaster, Pyrgos, Van Der Walt, Scott.