South Africans steer Edinburgh to finals
PRO14 MATCH REPORT: Duhan van der Merwe’s moment of magic helped Edinburgh overcome Scottish rivals Glasgow Warriors to book their place in the PRO14 Final Series and seal the 1872 Cup for a third straight season with a 30-15 victory at BT Murrayfield.
Edinburgh trailed 15-13 with 20 minutes remaining but South African speedster Van der Merwe showed off his unstoppable sidestep and produced a one-handed offload that sent Nic Groom in for his second try of the day.
Groom’s first try sandwiched scores from Peter Horne and Adam Hastings that had given Glasgow a half-time advantage but once the scrum-half made the most of Van der Merwe’s brilliance, Charlie Shiel sealed the victory late on.
Having needed just one point to guarantee their place in the Final Series, Edinburgh can now focus on finishing top of Conference B, and booking a home semi-final, as they face a rematch against Warriors next week to round out the regular season.
New Glasgow coach Danny Wilson made the bold call to start Huw Jones at full-back, instead of his normal outside centre position, for the first time since Jones joined the club in 2017 and the Scotland international largely acquitted himself well.
But it was Edinburgh who initially continued the form that saw them win five straight PRO14 encounters pre-lockdown with Jaco van der Walt slotting two early penalties for a 6-0 lead.
A Hastings three-pointer narrowed that gap before the flyhalf produced a cleverly delayed pass to send Horne over for the opening try on 19 minutes, giving Warriors the advantage.
— Edinburgh Rugby (@EdinburghRugby) August 22, 2020
Although Groom dotted down a classic scrumhalf’s try – a dummy and burrowed finish from close-range – on 32 minutes to briefly put the capital club back on top, sustained Glasgow pressure ended with Hastings powerfully crossing the whitewash to ensure a 15-13 half-time lead for Wilson’s men.
Hastings’ radar was off early in the second period as he missed a kickable penalty and Edinburgh made him pay on 60 minutes.
Van der Merwe showed why he tops the PRO14 ranks for clean breaks, defenders beat and metres gained this season as his brilliant sidestep, break and one-handed offload released Groom for his second try of the day.
A third van der Walt penalty suddenly extended Edinburgh’s lead to 23-15 and the victory was sealed six minutes from time when Shiel skipped past multiple defenders en route to running in from halfway.
For Glasgow Warriors:
Tries: Horne, Hastings
Tries: Groom 2, Shiel
Cons: Van der Walt 3
Pens: Van der Walt 3
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Huw Jones, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Pete Horne, 11 Ratu Tagive, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ali Price, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Matt Fagerson, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Scott Cummings, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown (captain), 1 Oliver Kebble.
Replacements: 16 George Turner, 17 Dylan Evans, 18 D’arcy Rae, 19 Kiran McDonald, 20 Tom Gordon, 21 George Horne, 22 Niko Matawalu, 23 Glenn Bryce.
Edinburgh: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Eroni Sau, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Chris Dean, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Luke Crosbie, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Andrew Davidson, 3 WP Nel, 2 Stuart McInally (captain), 1 Rory Sutherland.
Replacements: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Jamie Hodgson, 20 Nick Haining, 21 Charlie Shiel, 22 Nathan Chamberlain, 23 George Taylor.
Referee: Mike Adamson
Assistant referees: Sam Grove-White, Finlay Brown
TMO: Neil Patterson