Cockerill relishing ‘tasty battle’ with Glasgow
Richard Cockerill wants Edinburgh to put Glasgow under pressure at Murrayfield (pic: SNS Group)
BT Murrayfield has staged its fair share of competitive matches this year but few are likely to be as keenly contested as this weekend’s 1872 Cup meeting between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Bragging rights are on the line with the hosts defending the trophy in front of an expectant crowd as Scotland’s two professional outfits go head to head.
The second leg of the derby encounter goes ahead at Scotstoun on Saturday, 29 December.
Both teams have registered some impressive results this season, Edinburgh going well in the Heineken Champions Cup, while Glasgow are blazing a trail at the top of Conference A in the Guinness PRO14.
The two clubs also announced major signing news on the eve of the big game.
Edinburgh’s Scotland international second-row Grant Gilchrist pen to paper on a three-year contract extension, keeping him in the capital until at least 2022.
Along the M8, Fijian international Niko Matawalu has signed a new two-year contract with Glasgow Warriors, keeping him at Scotstoun until at least 2021.
“Their league form has been outstanding,” said Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill of his opponents.
“They make the most line breaks, they’re scoring over four tries a game on average, so they’re a very good side, aren’t they, but we have a certain way of playing, we control territory and we like to put teams under pressure.
“When they have the ball, we’ve got to put them under pressure this weekend.”
He added: “Derby games are just different. I’ve learned very quickly since arriving in Scotland that, in matches between Edinburgh and Glasgow, the form book goes out the window.
“The boys are really looking forward to the match. It’s derby day, we’re at home, and we’re certainly going to leave everything out on the field. It’s shaping up to be a tasty battle.”
Second-row Ben Toolis will make his 100th appearance for the club in a strong starting XV. that includes just one change to the team that secured an impressive away win against Newcastle Falcons in the Heineken Champions Cup last weekend.
Pete Horne will play his 150th game for the Warriors, starting the first leg of the 1872 Cup clash at inside centre with Nick Grigg outside of him in midfield.
His younger brother George starts at scrum-half with Adam Hastings his half-back partner, both fresh from signing new contracts with the club this week.
DTH van der Merwe returns to the starting XV, joining Tommy Seymour and Stuart Hogg in the back-three.
Grant Stewart, who signed his first professional contract with the club this week, joins Oli Kebble and Siua Halanukonuka in the front-row. Rob Harley and Jonny Gray start in the engine room, while Adam Ashe returns to the back-row alongside captain Callum Gibbins and Matt Fagerson.
Glasgow Warriors head coach Dave Rennie, who could have George Turner back in 8-10 weeks after the hooker had ankle surgery, said: “We’ve got ourselves in a strong position in both competitions and will be looking to carry on our good form into these festive derby matches.”
Kick-off is 5.15pm Saturday.
EDINBURGH: 1. Pierre Schoeman, 2. Stuart McInally (C), 3. WP Nel, 4. Ben Toolis, 5. Grant Gilchrist, 6. Luke Hamilton, 7. Hamish Watson, 8. Bill Mata. 9. Henry Pyrgos, 10. Jaco van der Walt 11. Duhan van der Merwe, 12. Chris Dean, 13. James Johnstone, 14. Darcy Graham, 15. Blair Kinghorn.
REPLACEMENTS: 16. David Cherry; 17. Allan Dell; 18. Pietro Ceccarelli; 19. Callum Hunter-Hill; 20. Luke Crosbie; Nathan Fowles; 22. Simon Hickey; 23. Juan Pablo Socino.
GLASGOW: 1. Oli Kebble, 2. Grant Stewart, 3. Siua Halanukonuka, 4. Rob Harley, Jonny Gray, 6. Adam Ashe (62), 7. Callum Gibbins (C), 8. Matt Fagerson, 9. George Horne, 10. Adam Hastings, 11. DTH van der Merwe, 12. Peter Horne, 13. Nick Grigg, 14. Tommy Seymour, 15. Stuart Hogg.
REPLACEMENTS: 16. Kevin Bryce, 17. Jamie Bhatti, 18. D’Arcy Rae, 19. Tim Swinson, 20. Chris Fusaro, 21. Ali Price, 22. Huw Jones, 23. Niko Matawalu.