WP NEL returns to Edinburgh Rugby’s starting line-up to face Glasgow Warriors today, as the capital side try to keep their hopes of retaining the 1872 Cup alive.

Glasgow emerged 20-16 winners in a tight game at Scotstoun last weekend but with head coach Richard Cockerill making just three changes to his starting line-up, he believes that will be enough to reverse the result, with the reintroduction of tighthead prop Nel a significant boost for the home side.

“Clearly there were some issues at the scrum. WP’s been training hard and got 40 minutes against Wasps (earlier this month). He needed another 40 in training this week. He’s very hungry to play and prove his worth for us at the moment and obviously looking towards the national side too,” said Cockerill.

“He’s got huge experience around the set-piece, both line-out and scrum he tackles well, he cleans rucks well, he does the nuts and bolts very well. WP gives us a tough edge.”

Cockerill has also brought in Jamie Ritchie in place of Magnus Bradbury, while Nic Groom comes into the starting fifteen in favour of Henry Pyrgos, who drops to the bench.

There was nothing between the sides last week, and although Glasgow came out on top in the dying minutes, Cockerill was not displeased with his side’s showing. And with so little in it at Scotstoun, he knows that as long as his side do not squander their chances at Murrayfield this afternoon, the result has every chance of being reversed.

“The game (last week) was as tight as it could be wasn’t it?,” said Cockerill.

“It wasn’t pretty but you’re not going to get pretty games when you’ve got two good sides who are both trying to win the small margins. I think when we get our opportunities we have to take them. There were some last week that we didn’t take.

“Just before half-time we missed touch from a penalty, which is a big swing. Then we get the ball back and kick directly into touch to give them a platform for them to attack from, and Bill Mata ends up in the bin subsequently. We don’t concede points but that last five minutes should probably be five metres from their line, putting pressure on them. We’ve got to turn those key moments into something tangible."

Both sides gave away penalties at Scotstoun, with Warriors conceding 15 and Edinburgh 10. Another physical battle is expected today though, particularly with Warriors’ Sam Johnson stoking the fire somewhat by saying that Glasgow won the ‘brutality battle’.

Cockerill was not worried by the centre’s comments, but admits his side lost out in terms of physicality at times.

“Clearly we lost the physical battle at times. Clearly our breakdown needs to be a little bit more robust at times. Whichever team gets the front foot gets the advantage,” the Englishman said.

“We always want to be more physical. Did they win the physical battles? At times they did, other times we did. It’s those key moments.

"We got penalised three times at the scrum, both their ball and our ball for technical offences. The way they defended the lineout by not engaging. The law says you can’t back away from the lineout, which should be refereed to the law.

"Sam Johnson is welcome to his opinion but we do need to up our game and make sure those 50-50s are ours and not theirs. If we had been five per cent better, that four points difference maybe falls our way. That’s the game sometimes.

"You’re always disappointed with the result but I wasn’t overly disappointed with the way we played because we did some good things. In big games like that we need to make sure those fine margins are ours and the detail has to be a little better.”

A somewhat contentious move, on social media at least, has been the appointment of Mike Adamson, a Glaswegian and former Warriors players, as referee for today's game.

There were a number of decisions that went against Edinburgh last weekend and the worry is the same might happen today with some observers, understandably, not entirely happy with his Adamson’s appointment. But Cockerill believes that if his side play well enough, they will negate any impact the referee could have on the game.

“If you’re an inexperienced referee, it’s a bit like an inexperienced player, you have to have your first game somewhere,” he said.

“You can debate some of the decisions around the game last week but it’s a tough game to referee. I’ve got no issues with either referee.

"If our bits were better, you take that bit of influence that the referee has out of it. It’s as simple as that.

"If we do that, we’re more than capable of winning.”