Edinburgh completely bossed the second-half of an entertaining first game in five months at BT Murrayfield as the capital side comfortably retained the 1872 Cup again over Glasgow.
Trailing 15-13 at half-time, Richard Cockerill stiffened his side with props Pierre Schoeman and Simon Berghan for the second half and the scrum domination was the foundation for Edinburgh to shut out the Warriors completely in the second half.
Nic Groom scored his second try of the game after a long belated intervention from Edinburgh’s star wing Duhan van der Merwe, and Groom’s replacement Charlie Shiel sealed the game with a fine solo try in the dying minutes.
Glasgow looked the brighter team in the first half with Adam Hastings calling the shots and scoring a try with Pete Horne bagging the other, but a more structured game in the second 40 saw Edinburgh take complete command and run out comfortable winners.
They took the 1872 Cup for the third year in succession, and at the same time clinched their place in the Guinness PRO14 play-offs, although they are still hoping for a home semi-final, but Glasgow’s faint chance of a last-four place is now gone.
11 penalties in the first half hour, the majority against Glasgow at the breakdown, certainly interfered with the flow but it wasn’t that bad a first-half for two teams who hadn’t had a proper competitive hit-out for five months.
Edinburgh got some free gifts to start with three easy penalties as Glasgow took time to get on Mike Adamson’s wavelength, van der Walt kicking the two within his range for a stress-free 6-0 lead.
Glasgow finally got a couple of penalties themselves to work some field position, and from one awarded when Edinburgh’s scrum transgressed, Adam Hastings landed a penalty just inside 40 metres to get his side on the board after 20 minutes.
But having had scraps to work with, the Warriors turned one into the first try in 22 minutes when the ball went loose and Pete Horne hacked it forward, forcing Edinburgh to go offside as the retreating Blair Kinghorn couldn’t deal with it under his own posts.
Glasgow took the tap and although skipper Fraser Brown was held just short at the posts, it was swiftly worked back and moved for Horne to saunter in for the first post-lockdown try. Hastings converted after Stuart McInally took offence at his celebrations and was penalised.
But Glasgow made nothing of the free possession from the restart penalty on halfway and Hamish Watson’s jackal near halfway got his team the ball and the momentum again.
Mark Bennett had a couple of runs and put Kinghorn into space, forcing a hurried clearance from Ali Price. Although Edinburgh lost Andrew Davidson to a concussion, the secured lineout ball and stayed patient as Kinghorn, Rory Sutherland and Eroni Sau went close.
Eventually Grant Gilchrist bashed close to the line and Nic Groom sniped for the try from point-black range, van der Walt converting.
Edinburgh’s lead lasted just two minutes as Glasgow forced a turnover on the restart and it was theiur turn to be patient through multiple phases with Oli Kebble, Brown and Zander Fagerson doing the carrying.
Eventually Fagerson got close and quick ball enabled Hastings to dart between two tacklers and get the ball down for his side’s second try, although he hit the post with the conversion to leave the Warriors with a narrow 15-13 advantage at the break.
Richard Cockerill threw on both his prop subs at half-time and they won a penalty at the first scrum as the momentum seemed to move back in Edinburgh’s favour.
Hastings missed a long penalty and on the hour Edinburgh got the ball into van der Merwe’s hands at last, the wing coming to the counterattack ball, holding it one hand and fending off tacklers with the other on a 30-metre run before setting up Groom for an easy run-in, van der Walt converting.
The stand-off then kicked a long penalty for another scrum infringement to stretch Edinburgh’s lead beyond a converted try, and with six minutes left they clinched victory.
It was a pair of replacements who did the damage, George Taylor winning a fine turnover as Glasgow looked to run, and young scrum-half Charlie Shiel came on to the ball at pace 40 metres out and weaved his way past three defenders to score a superb individual try.
Glasgow: Huw Jones; Tommy Seymour, Nick Grigg, Peter Horne, Ratu Tagive; Adam Hastings, Ali Price; Oli Kebble, Fraser Brown (capt), Zander Fagerson; Richie Gray, Scott Cummings; Rob Harley, Matt Fagerson, Ryan Wilson.
Replacements: George Turner for Brown 60, Dylan Evans for Kebble 40, D’Arcy Rae for Z Fagerson 76, Kiran McDonald for Gray 71, Tom Gordon for Harley 50, George Horne for Price 58, Niko Matawalu for Tagive 60, Glenn Bryce for Grigg 71.
Edinburgh: Blair Kinghorn; Eroni Sau, Mark Bennett, Chris Dean, Duhan van der Merwe; Jaco van der Walt, Nic Groom; Rory Sutherland, Stuart McInally (capt), WP Nel; Grant Gilchrist, Andrew Davidson; Luke Crosbie, Hamish Watson, Viliame Mata.
Replacements: Mike Willemse for McInally 60, Pierre Schoeman for Sutherland 40, Simon Berghan for Nel 40, Jamie Hodgson for Davidson 38, Nick Haining for Crosbie 66, Charlie Shiel for Groom 62, Nathan Chamberlain for van der Walt 76, George Taylor for Dean 62.
Ref: Mike Adamson (SRU)