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December 22, 2012

Glasgow Warriors 23 - 14 Edinburgh

GUINNESS PRO12 match played at Scotstoun on Friday December 21st 2012 | No comments

Robert Harley went over for Glasgow's second try
A first-quarter blitz saw Glasgow claim a derby triumph over Edinburgh at Scotstoun to put the Warriors on course for a fourth successive 1872 Cup.

DTH van der Merwe scored two tries, either side of a Robert Harley score, as Glasgow raced into a 17-0 lead.

Two Greig Laidlaw penalties and a Piers Francis try reduced the deficit to six points as Edinburgh rallied, but replacement fly-half Duncan Weir kicked two penalties to render a third from Laidlaw irrelevant.

The result saw the Warriors end a four-match losing streak and extend their impressive home run, while it is now nine years since Edinburgh have won in Glasgow and more than two since the capital side won three RaboDirect PRO12 matches in a row.

Boosted by news of captain Alastair Kellock's contract extension on the eve of the match, tying the lock to Glasgow for the remainder of his career, the hosts were dominant in all aspects in an impressive first half.

After Laidlaw's early charge down amounted to nothing and Greig Tonks was shackled as Tim Visser put him into space, Glasgow responded.

The ball was spread swiftly from right to left, Peter Murchie came into the line to create the overlap and DTH van der Merwe raced into the corner to touch down. Peter Horne missed the conversion.

Edinburgh suffered a further blow with the departure of Ross Ford with a shoulder injury, with Andy Titterrell his replacement at hooker.

It was the second enforced change of the evening in the visitors' front row after Allan Jacobsen pulled out through illness prior to kick-off, with John Yapp replacing him at loosehead.

The momentum was with Glasgow and Edinburgh wing Lee Jones held DTH on the line, but the ball was quickly recycled and Harley dotted down in the corner. Again the conversion was missed.

New Zealand-born, Scotland-qualified wing Sean Maitland was impressive in making his full home debut and he regularly breached the visitors' defence.

Glasgow then took the direct approach and marauded forward up front and released the ball for scrum-half Niko Matawalu, who chipped over for DTH van der Merwe to touch down unopposed. This time Horne was on target to make it 17-0.

Laidlaw responded with a penalty from in front of the posts after 32 minutes and another five minutes into the second half to reduce the deficit.

The visitors then finally breached the Warriors defence with a good move after David Denton took the ball into contact.

A fine miss pass from James King put Matt Scott through a gap and Francis was inside him. The fly-half held off the covering tackle to score, but Laidlaw could not add the conversion.

Weir, who replaced Ruaridh Jackson, missed a penalty attempt for Glasgow before a successful second attempt when Edinburgh strayed offside as the hosts exerted pressure.

Laidlaw kicked his third penalty to leave Edinburgh a converted try behind with 11 minutes remaining, but another Weir penalty restored the nine-point advantage with eight minutes to go.

DTH van der Merwe and Stuart Hogg thought they had combined for Glasgow's fourth try, but the television match official adjudged the latter knocked on in the chase for the bouncing ball.

Glasgow were camped deep in the Edinburgh 22 for much of the remaining time to complete victory.

Glasgow Warriors coach Gregor Townsend was happy simply to establish a healthy lead over Edinburgh after the first leg of the 1872 Cup at Scotstoun.

They failed to gain a bonus point for a fourth try in the 23-14 victory.

But Gregor told BBC Scotland: "There was stage when Edinburgh got to within six points. We just wanted over that seven-point cushion.

"I didn't think there would be three tries in this game and to get them in the first half was something special."

The Glasgow coach thought the heavy, wet conditions in Glasgow would prevent try-scoring.

"We saw the weather yesterday and the work they've done on this pitch is fantastic," he said before contemplating next Saturday's second leg in Edinburgh.

"We are really looking forward to playing at Murrayfield.

"Let's hope it's a dry night as we want to play rugby at the pace we showed in the first half. I thought our intensity was really good from the start of the game but also the pace on the ball, recognising space," he said.

"The try where Nico kicks it for DTH was an outstanding try and vision from DTH, calling that kick and then precision in the kick.

"I thought we defended really well at the end of the first half and we had two sequences where Edinburgh played a lot of rugby and we put in good tackles.

"We didn't defend as well at the start of the second half and Edinburgh got a bit more confidence, but I'm glad that the reaction in the last 20 minutes was positive when we were looking for that fourth try.

"I thought Greig Laidlaw was outstanding for Edinburgh and what a class player he is, playing at nine for the first time in a while," added Glasgow's coach.

"He made things tick and he saved them with a great tackle on Sean Maitland and almost scored himself.

"They were a dangerous team. They were certainly up for the game and came back well in the second half."

Referee Jerome Garces (France)
Attendance 6,000
Man of the Match Alastair Kellock
Ryan Grant
Pat MacArthur
Moray Low
Tim Swinson
Alastair Kellock
Robert Harley
Chris Fusaro
Ryan Wilson
Nikola Matawalu
Ruaridh Jackson
DTH van der Merwe
Peter Horne
Sean Lamont
Sean Maitland
Peter Murchie
Dougie Hall
Gordon Reid
German Araoz
Jonny Gray
James Eddie
Henry Pyrgos
Duncan Weir
Stuart Hogg
Match Substitutions
Off On
Chris Fusaro James Eddie
Off On
Peter Horne Stuart Hogg
Off On
Ruaridh Jackson Duncan Weir
Off On
Pat MacArthur Dougie Hall
Off On
Nikola Matawalu Henry Pyrgos
Off On
Tim Swinson Jonny Gray
DTH van der Merwe Try 
Robert Harley Try 
DTH van der Merwe Try 
Peter Horne Conversion
Duncan Weir Penalty
Duncan Weir Penalty