EDINBURGH had double cause for celebration last night as they first retained the 1872 Cup with a hard-fought second-half comeback against Glasgow, and then watched Conference B rivals Munster go down to a 27-25 defeat by Munster.

The win against the Warriors was enough for Richard Cockerill’s team to clinch their place in the PRO14 semi-finals; the later result in Dublin means Edinburgh will be at home in those semis, with Conference A runners-up Ulster being the visitors.

Glasgow led at the end of a first half in which they had been the more confident and positive team, but they fell away badly after the break, failing to add to their tally. The only consolation for them is the fact that they were all but out of the play-offs even before this game – although they will have another chance to get the better of Edinburgh when the teams meet again at the same venue on Friday.

Munster, meanwhile, need to beat Connacht next week to be sure of pipping Scarlets for second place in Conference B.

After five months without a match, and only a few weeks of full-contact work in which to reacquaint themselves with the rigours of professional rugby, both teams inevitably looked rusty. But while the error count was higher than we would normally expect, there were some inspired touches to enliven proceedings, none more so than the move by Duhan van der Merwe which all but wrapped the game up for Edinburgh.

The try in question was finished off by scrum-half Nic Groom – his second of the night – but it was the winger who made the running by beating three defenders before putting his team-mate in. Jaco van der Walt converted that try then added a penalty to put Edinburgh eight points up, and there was no looking back from that point.

It was in fact Van der Walt who had kick-started the match, as two early penalties from him had given his team an early advantage after referee Mike Adamson imposed the new law guidelines meticulously.

A scrum offence then allowed Adam Hastings to pull three points back for Warriors, who went ahead for the first time right on the midway point of the half.

They might have settled for another three points from right in front of the posts after Edinburgh were penalised for offside, but they opted to scrum, and their ambition paid off when Pete Horne crossed from close range. Hastings added the conversion, and Glasgow began to play with the confident adventurousness of a team who had nothing to lose.

Edinburgh, by contrast, continued to play more conservatively, but their approach paid off when a try from Groom, converted by Van der Walt, restored their lead. Eroni Sau and Grant Gilchrist had both come close, then the quick-witted scrum-half finished off from the base of a ruck.

Warriors hit back almost immediately, though, with Hastings claiming his team’s second try after hard work by his pack. He failed to convert, however, which made the half-time score 15-13 to Glasgow.

Both teams made front-row changes before play resumed, and the contest was certainly calling out for someone to come off the bench and impose direction on it. Hastings failed to stretch his team’s lead when he was just off target with a long-range penalty, and although it seemed improbable at the time, that was the Warriors’ last real chance to score while it still mattered.

Van der Merwe had barely touched the ball in the first 60 minutes, but just past the hour mark he got his chance to make a big impact – and he took it with aplomb before laying the score on a plate for Groom. Van der Walt’s ensuing penalty was from all of 40m, and that made it 23-15 with quarter-of-an hour to play.

Charlie Shiel replaced Groom, and soon made use of his turn of speed against a tiring defence to claim his team’s third try. Van der Walt was again on target with the conversion, but although there were still five minutes for Edinburgh to go in search of the bonus try, they did not have another scoring opportunity. They did the next best thing, though, holding off heavy pressure to deny the Warriors a consolation try at the death.

Scorers: Glasgow: Tries: P Horne, Hastings. Con: Hastings. Pen: Hastings.

Edinburgh: Tries: Groom 2, Shiel. Cons: Van der Walt 3. Pens: Van der Walt 3.

Glasgow Warriors: H Jones (G Bryce 71); T Seymour, N Grigg, Horne, R Tagive (N Matawalu 59); A Hastings, A Price (G Horne 55); O Kebble (D Evans 41), F Brown (G Turner 59), Z Fagerson (D Rae 76), R Gray (K McDonald), S Cummings, R Harley (T Gordon 50), M Fagerson, R Wilson.

Edinburgh: B Kinghorn; E Sau, M Bennett, C Dean (G Taylor 62), D van der Merwe; J van der Walt, N Groom (C Shiel 62); R Sutherland ( P Schoeman 41), S McInally (captain) (M Willemse 59), W Nel (S Berghan 41), A Davidson (J Hodgson 28), G Gilchrist, L Crosbie (N Haining 65), H Watson, V Mata. Unused substitute: N Chamberlain.

Referee: M Adamson (Scotland).