ON the whole, mused Petrus du Plessis, the Glasgow Warriors set-piece coach, the 1872 Cup tends to go to the team that is more desperate. In recent years, that has been Edinburgh, who have claimed the trophy in four out of the last five seasons, winning eight of the 12 matches played in that time.

This season, though, it is different. Glasgow are the ones coming in with shaky results.

“The pressure is on us now but we always seem to thrive under pressure,” Du Plessis pointed out.


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“Last year and the year before, we were comfortable and they were scrapping for it. They were more desperate than us. This year it will be interesting to see how we go because we’re in that position.

“It’s still in our hands but we’ve got to focus because we’re desperate. To come up against Edinburgh is a fantastic opportunity to put things right.

“It’s a national derby. You can say what you want about last year, when they won twice before we absolutely smashed them off the park in the last game, but for us it’s to pick up from there and do what we know we do well.”

The numbers back him up. Last year, Edinburgh came into the Festive games with four wins from 10 league games. Glasgow were flying in the league, with eight wins taking them to top spot in their conference.

On the back of those numbers, you would have expected Glasgow to run away with the 1872 games but, instead, they lost both meaning that, while the third match mattered for PRO14 positions, the Cup was already destined for Edinburgh who went into the game with a 2-0 lead in the three match series,

“The PRO14 is still pretty much in our hands,” Du Plessis added. “Last year a team like Edinburgh who lost 10 or 11 games still had an opportunity to get to the play-offs so we just need to keep our heads down, prepare really well and go on. It will come.”

He accepts it is hard to use European form as a guide this season. Edinburgh are in the Challenge Cup and were able to rest a lot of players when they sent a weakened side down to Wasps at the weekend and still came away with a win. Glasgow had to go flat out in the Heineken Champions Cup and still endure the frustration of a home defeat to La Rochelle.

“We’d done so much to take a win – and we didn’t,” Du Plessis said. “There was a big set-piece set from about 55 to 65 minutes where we had possibly five or six opportunities that we could have taken, so that is very frustrating.


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“You can blame it on quite a few things but, for us, we just put that behind us and go again. It’s not as if we played that poorly that we are concerned. We go again and what better opportunity than at home against Edinburgh?

“It’s two very different game strategies, so whoever does the small bits right is going to come away with the win. Both strategies could work pretty well – it’s just who can do it best.

“They’re physical, Richard Cockerill has got in their ears and hyped up the whole derby thing but so have we. We talk about the culture we have in Glasgow compared to Edinburgh, and we’ve just got to show it at the weekend.

“We know the challenge is going to get even tougher against Edinburgh – the guys know each other really well from Scotland so there’s a lot more to it than for example playing Cardiff Blues or Leinster. It’s closer to the bone for us so it’s going to be a helluva physical battle.”