Alan Solomons: Edinburgh deserved 1872 Cup win over Glasgow Warriors
Edinburgh head coach praised team effort after 26-24 aggregate win over Scottish rivals from their two Guinness PRO12 matches
Alan Solomons hailed Edinburgh’s team performance as they stunned rivals Glasgow Warriors to win the 1872 Cup.
The Gunners trailed by 10 points from last week’s reverse fixture in the Guinness PRO12, but a dominant first-half performance at BT Murrayfield that yielded 20 points was the difference.
I thought it was an incredible team performance; it was fantastic. You consider that Glasgow are close to the top of the log and we had to beat them by more than 10 points to win the trophy and we did it.
The Warriors were troubled at the set-pieces throughout and, perhaps more surprisingly, failed to match the hunger and intensity of their hosts for much of the match.
As well as the much-needed four league points that took Edinburgh up to seventh in the PRO12 table, securing the Scottish inter-city silverware and bragging rights for the first time since 2009 was equally important for Solomons’ squad, which has had to live in the shadow of their rivals from along the M8 in recent years.
“The opening 40 minutes I thought we had the edge on them in terms of field position,” Solomons said.
“I thought our physicality was really, really good.
“We made a lot of errors early in that second half, but once we got a grip on it again we were deserving of the win.
“I think the scoreline was a fair reflection of the night’s play and we were deserving of the cup.
“I thought it was an incredible team performance; it was fantastic. You consider that Glasgow are close to the top of the log and we had to beat them by more than 10 points to win the trophy and we did it.”
A record crowd of 15,810 for a PRO12 match in Scotland braved swirling wind and rain to see three moments of brilliance in a match that was over by half-time.
The Warriors opened the scoring with a penalty goal from Finn Russell before Edinburgh scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne overhauled that with two efforts.
To achieve what we’ve done has been incredible bearing in mind we lost our strength and conditioning coach Johan Pretorius, lost Omar Mouneimne, our defence coach.
Scotland winger Tim Visser twice pounced on Glasgow mistakes late in the first half to score well-taken tries, with Hidalgo-Clyne adding the conversions to give the home side a 20-3 lead at the break.
Flying Fijian Niko Matawalu gave the Warriors the perfect response with a solo effort as he chipped ahead and, with the help of the bounce, dived ahead of Gunners full-back Jack Cuthbert to ground the ball just 110 seconds into the second half.
The early score gave the swathes of visiting supporters hope of a comeback, but Russell missed a difficult conversion from wide on the left to leave the score on the night at 20-8 (26-24 on aggregate) and the spark was soon extinguished as Edinburgh’s tough-tackling defence and set-piece dominance returned to the fore.
Solomons also paid tribute to two of his fellow coaches, two of whom have left the club since the start of the season, but Edinburgh continue to reap the rewards of their work with the squad.
“We worked a lot at the breakdown this week and I thought we had the edge at the breakdown,” he added.
“Our lineouts, we worked a lot on that. [Forwards coach] Stevie Scott did a great job in making sure that was right and the players were good.
“Our scrum is always solid, so I thought we really did well there.
“It was just a fantastic team performance. Right at the beginning of the season we spoke about team and the importance about team ethic, team spirit, and I think we’ve seen it in the last seven weeks.
“To achieve what we’ve done has been incredible bearing in mind we lost our strength and conditioning coach Johan Pretorius; lost Omar Mouneimne, our defence coach.
“He’s put in incredible systems and done a great job and we’ve been able to maintain those systems, and full marks to the players because I thought we defended really, really well.
“[Glasgow] got one try that came from a bit of good individual work by Niko and a bounce of a ball that favoured him.”
The win — their first over Glasgow since January 2011 — extended their impressive home record this season to six successive wins from eight matches in all competitions.
Connacht are the only visiting team to win at BT Murrayfield as they secured a 14-13 win in Round 2 of the PRO12 back in September with the Scarlets leaving with a 20-20 draw in Round 4.