AN ALREADY difficult season for Glasgow and Edinburgh hit a further snag last night when the game between the two sides at Scotstoun had to be postponed because of a frozen pitch. It is not yet known when the match will be rescheduled.

For the Warriors, this was the third game in four weeks to be called off, with last week’s 10-7 defeat at Murrayfield by their Scottish rivals the only one to go ahead. They will therefore go into next week’s Champions Cup match against Lyon desperately short of match practice.

Edinburgh too would far rather have played the league match as planned. Having won last week, they would have lifted the 1872 Cup with a game to spare had they won again last night - and given their superiority in the scrum in their home match, they appeared very confident of doing so. Unlike Glasgow, they still have a slim chance of qualifying from the pool stage in Europe, but now they will go cold into their vital home game against Sale Sharks.

Scotstoun has an all-weather pitch, but, even though ground staff gritted it extensively, it was deemed unsafe. The temperature was around -4C when the match was officially called off, some 15 minutes before the planned 7.35pm kick-off.

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PRO14 issued a statement shortly afterwards, saying: “After a pre-match inspection by referee Mike Adamson, the playing surface was deemed unsafe for the game to take place without causing a risk to the players and match officials. PRO14 Rugby will immediately begin to identify a new date to play this fixture.”

Murrayfield would probably be playable today or tomorrow even if Scotstoun remained frozen, but that is unfeasible according to Glasgow coach Danny Wilson. “I have been told, presumably because of other broadcast commitments, that it won't go ahead this weekend,” he said. 

“I don't know if that is absolutely confirmed. But I've been told that won't be tomorrow and I'm 99 per cent sure it won't be this weekend, because broadcasting is an issue.

“It's another game we’ll have to reschedule. There is a fair bit of uncertainty in everything at the moment. It is a case of waiting to see what we can and cannot do. This season has all been about reacting on the hoof.”

Wilson’s squad had been able to train on the pitch almost as normal this week during daylight hours, but when both teams came out to do their warm-up last night they found conditions had worsened. “The pitch was fine at lunchtime, and in the afternoon, and when I arrived around 3.30pm,” he continued. “But as the night has gone on it has dropped to -1, -2, -3.

“The scenario that killed it was the scrum. Edinburgh went into the scrum part of their warm-up before we did, and they felt straight away that they couldn't keep their studs underneath them. They went digging into the ground because it was too hard. It wasn't safe to scrum and therefore it wasn't safe to play. 

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“Even all-weather pitches have circumstances they can't deal with and unfortunately this has been one. It’s frustrating for everybody. We all want to play the game as scheduled, unfortunately that’s not going to be the case, now we have to wait and see.”

Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill explained what had happened when his players tried to go through their initial warm-up. “A few of the players were saying the far side was very hard,” he explained. “It was hard to get any purchase. Obviously, the plastic grass on the top was soft, but underneath it was very hard and it wouldn’t take a stud.

“Myself and [Edinburgh captain] Stu McInally, with Mikey Adamson, went and had a look, and the ground staff came with us and they did some work on it. Then we continued with the warm-up as normal, but once we got to the scrummaging on that far side, all the front-row players couldn’t get any grip at all in the front four studs and just slipped straight to their faces, so it was impossible to scrummage on.  

“It certainly wasn’t fit to play on, because we couldn’t scrummage - which after last week would obviously be a pretty important part of the game.”