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Glasgow 37 Edinburgh 34: Derby's rich pickings

G LASGOW will count winning the 1872 Cup for a fifth successive season as the least significant part of this victory.

Edinburgh make a last-ditch bid to halt Warriors' Ruaridh Jackson Photograph: Fotosport
Edinburgh make a last-ditch bid to halt Warriors' Ruaridh Jackson Photograph: Fotosport

They will cherish the RaboDirect PRO12 league points, and particularly their four-try bonus point, far more. With those in the bag, they rose to second place in the table, perfectly positioned to take the home tie in the play-offs that has eluded them in every previous campaign.

Yet the derby nature of the contest was never far from the surface, as Edinburgh, as limited as they might have been, put up feisty resistance and made Glasgow work for everything they got. Bizarrely, Edinburgh also managed to collect a try-bonus of their own, thanks to two late touchdowns.

The final scoreline may flatter Edinburgh, but it should also sound a warning to Glasgow of the dangers of taking their foot off the gas as they head into their last two regular-season games.

However, the Scotstoun side will hope Edinburgh display the same combative approach in their remaining games, which happen to be against the Warriors' play-off rivals Munster and Leinster.

"I think we caught them on the hop,"said Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons at the end. The subdued look on the Glasgow players' faces was a clear indication that they knew they were guilty of complacency. The best their fans can hope is that Edinburgh's late surge will be a wake-up call.

Glasgow can take huge satisfaction from other aspects of their game. Jon Welsh and Jonny Gray had storming matches and their midfield trio worked beautifully at times.

In scoring terms, Glasgow rocketed out of their blocks at the start, but were helped considerably by the fact that Edinburgh were stuck in theirs. The capital side were guilty of the most awful profligacy in the way they shovelled the ball Glasgow's way, with misplaced kick-offs and penalties that failed to find touch.

The home side cruised to an 11-0 lead in as many minutes with a try by Peter Murchie, who muscled over in the right corner after a scrum on the left, and a couple of penalties by Finn Russell.

Nothing Edinburgh had done suggested life was about to get any harder for the home side, but it did. Glasgow's defence have been outstanding all season, but were sleeping on the job when Edinburgh won a position near the left corner and Willem Nel spun down the narrow side for his 14th-minute try.

Greig Laidlaw landed a sublime conversion, then added a penalty a few minutes later. With the second kick, Glasgow got off lightly, the television official deciding minutes earlier that Mark Bennett had nudged Andries Strauss into touch as he lunged in for what would have been Edinburgh's second try.

Glasgow girded themselves, worked their way upfield and collected their own second try a few minutes later. It came when Sean Maitland released Bennett on a clever line and Ruaridh Jackson dived over by the left corner flag after the ensuing ruck. Russell could not convert, but Edinburgh did take extra punishment when Izak van der Westhuizen was yellow-carded for a recklessly high tackle on Bennett in the build-up.

Glasgow could not take advantage, doing no more damage on the scoreboard during his absence, and indeed the next action in that area came when Laidlaw landed his second penalty in the 35th minute. That closed the gap to three points again, but it opened up dramatically when Glasgow claimed their third try just before half-time.

Boldly, they chose to kick a penalty to the right corner rather than the posts. Al Kellock won the line-out and Glasgow rumbled towards the middle of the pitch. Rob Harley set off on a charge, the ball was recycled quickly and Jackson found Bennett on a characteristically clever line to release the centre for his score.

Russell's conversion took the midpoint score to 23-13 and Glasgow looked to have taken took themselves into comfort zone when Peter Murchie scored the bonus-point try eight minutes after the break. Russell set up the attacking platform with a neat show-and-go move that was halted just short of the posts, with Chris Cusiter and Jackson providing the links to put the full-back through.

Matt Scott scored a 58th-minute try for Edinburgh, with Harley adding Glasgow's fifth in the 75th-minute before Tomas Leonardi and Tim Visser grabbed the visitors' late scores.

Glasgow: P Murchie; S Maitland, M Bennett (R Vernon, 72), F Russell, T Seymour; R Jackson (D Weir, 75), C Cusiter (N Matawalu, 60); R Grant (J Yanuyanutawa, 75), D Hall (P MacArthur, 49), J Welsh (M Low, 60), J Gray, A Kellock (capt; L Nakarawa, 60), R Harley, C Fusaro (R Wilson, 60), J Strauss.

Edinburgh: J Cuthbert; T Brown, M Scott, A Strauss (S Beard, 49), T Visser; C Bezuidenhout, G Laidlaw (capt); A Dickinson (W Blaauw, 75), R Ford (J Hiterbrand, 75), W Nel, G Gilchrist, I Van der Westhuizen (T Leonardi, 49), M Coman (B Toolis, 75), C Du Preez, D Denton.

Referee: M Raynal (France). Att: 8855

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