Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh - Teams and Prediction
ROUND NINE RESCHEDULED: Glasgow Warriors host Edinburgh in the first leg of the 1872 Cup on Friday – a match that could have a big say in the outcome of the Scottish/Italian Shield.
Fans in Scotland have had to wait longer than anyone else for their first derby of the season but the first leg of the 1872 Cup has finally arrived.
Originally scheduled to be played at Christmas, the teams’ meeting at Scotstoun fell victim to a Covid-enforced postponement but they will renew their rivalry this weekend – and it could hardly be tighter between the sides in the URC standings.
The pair are tied on 39 points, with the Warriors sitting top of the Scottish/Italian Shield by virtue of having won a game more than the capital club.
Glasgow Warriors Head Coach Danny Wilson has made seven alterations to the starting XV.
Murphy Walker starts a professional match for the first time after being named at loose-head, the prop having been released from his first call-up to Scotland camp to join Johnny Matthews and Simon Berghan in the front-row.
A familiar second-row partnership comes into the engine room for tomorrow’s clash, as Richie Gray pairs up with Scott Cummings after the latter’s recovery from injury.
Thomas Gordon comes into the pack at openside, linking up with captain Ryan Wilson and the league’s leading carrier Jack Dempsey in the back-row.
Jamie Dobie and Duncan Weir continue their partnership in the half-backs, with Weir playing in his first 1872 Cup clash for Glasgow since the 2015/16 campaign.
Stafford McDowall and Robbie Fergusson are selected as the midfield combination, making it a club reunion in the centres for the former Ayr RFC standouts.
Sebastian Cancelliere comes into the back three in place of the injured Ollie Smith, with Josh McKay shifting to fullback and Cole Forbes completing the starting lineup.
Head Coach Mike Blair made three changes to the Edinburgh team.
Centre Matt Currie, stand-off Jaco van der Walt and loosehead prop Harrison Courtney come into the side that claimed a bonus-point win against Connacht a fortnight ago, as Blair names a settled starting line-up.
An unchanged back-three sees Henry Immelman continue at fullback, with Argentine internationals Emiliano Boffelli and Ramiro Moyano – both try-scorers in the win over Connacht – selected on opposite wings.
Club centurion Chris Dean – who provided two-try assists in the win over the Irishmen – is paired with academy graduate Currie in midfield, while scrum-half Henry Pyrgos is again named captain in an experienced halfback pairing with fellow Scotland cap Van der Walt.
Up front, vice-captain and hooker Dave Cherry packs down alongside recently re-signed props Courtney and Angus Williams, as an unchanged lock combination of Pierce Phillips and Glen Young complete the tight-five.
Fijian international number 8 Mesulame Kunavula anchors a back-row that sees impressive young flanks Ben Muncaster (20) and Connor Boyle (22) again named on opposite flanks.
Commenting on the fixture, Blair said: “We’ve spoken this week about how important this game is for the club. Firstly, in terms of the 1872 Cup – it’s an opportunity for silverware – but also in terms of the league. It’s incredibly tight between ourselves and Glasgow and we want to keep momentum going heading into the business end of the season.
“We’ve also talked about the emotion of the game. There is a huge amount of history in this fixture, so it’s important our players let that emotion drive them and motivate them. At the same time, we’ve got to stay cool under pressure, as we’ll be playing away from home in front of a really passionate crowd.
“We’ve had a great week of training and preparation and we’re delighted to see some of our younger guys get an opportunity to play in such an important fixture. They’ll be desperate to represent this club and city come Friday ”
While Glasgow Warriors coach Wilson told glasgowwarriors.org: “Edinburgh had a good win against Connacht two weeks ago and they’re a side who are playing a good brand of rugby and scoring a lot of tries.
“After a tough away game to Scarlets, we’re looking forward to being back at Scotstoun in front of a sold-out crowd and bouncing back with an improved performance.
“We’ve had a good week of training and were pleased to welcome back some of our Scotland players towards the end of the week.
“Both sides are tied on points in the league. Tomorrow’s game and the remaining league games are going to have a big bearing on league position and qualification for both Europe and the URC play-offs.”
Glasgow are the current holders of the 1872 Cup, which reverts to a two-match format this season.
@rugby365com: Glasgow by five points.
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Josh McKay, 14 Sebastian Cancelliere, 13 Robbie Fergusson, 12 Stafford McDowall, 11 Cole Forbes, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Jamie Dobie, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Thomas Gordon, 6 Ryan Wilson (captain), 5 Richie Gray, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Simon Berghan, 2 Johnny Matthews, 1 Murphy Walker
Replacements: 16 Grant Stewart, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Ewan McQuillin, 19 Kiran McDonald, 20 Ally Miller, 21 Jordan Lenac, 22 Ross Thompson, 23 Sione Tuipulotu
Edinburgh: 15 Henry Immelman, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Matt Currie, 12 Chris Dean, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Henry Pyrgos (captain), 8 Mesulame Kunavula, 7 Connor Boyle, 6 Ben Muncaster, 5 Glen Young, 4 Pierce Phillips, 3 Angus Williams, 2 Dave Cherry, 1 Harrison Courtney
Replacements: 16 Adam McBurney, 17 Boan Venter, 18 Luan de Bruin, 19 Jamie Hodgson, 20 Magnus Bradbury, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Charlie Savala, 23 Cammy Hutchison
Date: Friday, March 18
Kick-off: 21:35 (19:35 GMT)
Referee: Hollie Davidson
Assistant Referees: Keith Allen, Ian Kenny
TMO: Neil Paterson