WHEN Edinburgh's players walzed back from Scotstoun with the 1872 Cup just before New Year, there must have been a double sense of panic back in Glasgow. Not only had the frailties been exposed on the playing front but there was a real danger next Saturday's season finale could have been rendered meaningless.

Glasgow Warriors had already campaigned hard to host the fixture in the face of SRU demands that it should be played at BT Murrayfield as the climax to the day of cup finals in the stadium. They had also committed themselves to increasing the capacity at the ground from its usual 7,351 to 10,000 and needed to fill the seats to justify the cost.

In the end, any fears turned out to be totally groundless. Okay, the 1872 Cup is safely lodged in the Edinburgh headquarters in Murrayfield but in the big real world outside the bubble of Scottish domestic rivalry, there has never been a clash with so much at stake.

Both teams are locked in season-defining battles. For Glasgow, it is hosting the Guinness PRO14 semi final with the chance of then heading to Celtic Park for a home final if they win. For Edinburgh it is the clutching-at-straws hope of a place in the play offs and the more realistic drive to at earn an elimination match for the final place in next season's Heineken Champions Cup.

Whichever team loses, is likely to mean their season comes to a premature and reward-free close. It all means there is a huge amount at stake, especially for Edinburgh, who could win and still walk away from the weekend with nothing to show if the Scarlets, who are chasing them for the European eliminator, claim five tries against the Dragons, the weakest team in their conference.

One current form, Glasgow Warriors should go in as favourites after recording only their second win at the RDS in Dublin in last weekend's remarkable match where they smashed just about every tackling statistic in modern rugby, still conceded four tries but also found a way to victory with five of their own.

The previous evening, Edinburgh had been poor in losing at home to Ulster but they do have the confidence booster of having beaten Glasgow twice this season, one of those at Scotstoun, and they have a pack that adds Pierre Schoeman and Viliame Mata to six forwards – plus a few more on the bench – who are starting for Scotland ahead of their Glasgow rivals.

"They will probably be disappointed with the result against Ulster but they are always a strong team," reflected Scott Cummings, the Glasgow lock who is becoming a regular starter in the side. "They will be fighting to get in that top three and Champions Cup qualification, they are just as desperate as us. If we lose, we probably don’t get that home semi-final, so it is going to be two teams that are desperate for everything.

"Last week, Leinster was the biggest game of the season so far. Next week, Edinburgh is now the biggest game of the season so far. Every week for the past five to six weeks people have been thinking ‘this is the biggest game’. If we win this we then get a home semi-final.

"Everyone knows what Edinburgh do. A lot of their game is focused around that set piece, scrum, maul, lineout, so going into the game, that is the focus for us. They have a really good kicking game. They put a lot of pressure on you, back their defence and wait for that mistake.

"We need to be smart about how we play. They have a great kick chase, they will put a lot of pressure on us, but it’s up to us to find the gaps. There are areas where we believe we can take those opportunities."

Cummings is going to be the odd one out, the only one of the four locks likely to be on display who has not featured in the national boilerhouse where Jonny Gray, his partner, has been battling it out with Grant Gilchrist and Ben Toolis, who are likely to start for Edinburgh.

That said, Cummings also comes into the game without the baggage of losing to Edinburgh this season – "Just not picked," he shrugged – and he is ready to show what he can do after being given a vote of confidence when he was picked to play Saracens in the Champions Cup only to get injured after 14 minutes.

"We weren’t quite as accurate as we wanted to be," was his memory of the two Festive games. "We weren’t playing the style of rugby that we are now. We have shown in the past couple of games that we can be a dominant pack.

"Everyone thinks of Glasgow as a flash, scoring tries, but we’ve got that solid defence and solid set piece to back up the flash tries we are still scoring. It is a more rounded team."