Fans returned to top level Scottish sport at BT Murrayfield last night, but the 700 Edinburgh season ticket holders didn’t see much of a game and their team suffered their first defeat to Glasgow at Murrayfield under Richard Cockerill.
Tries from Warriors captain Fraser Brown – on his 100th appearance for the club – and Ratu Tagive were enough to give Glasgow their first win at Murrayfield since 2016, and new head coach Danny Wilson his first success in the job.
The well-spaced spectators weren’t able to add much to the atmosphere with their team scoring only a first-half Nathan Chamberlain penalty.
The novice Edinburgh half-backs Chamberlain and Charlie Shiel were tidy but unable to have much influence on the game, and it was Scotland international Ali Price’s arrival in the second-half that gave some vital pep to his team.
Glasgow’s defence was exemplary throughout and the team were far more streetwise at the breakdown than they were in Saturday’s opener. With lineout possession an issue throughout, Edinburgh were unable to get much ball to work with.
But perhaps the best result for Cockerill was that none of his big players suffered any knocks in this dead rubber with next week’s Guinness PRO14 semi-final against Ulster looming, although Darcy Graham left with a knock in injury-time.
Glasgow were forced into a late change when Richie Gray was withdrawn as a precaution, a member of his close family having illness symptoms and awaiting results of a Covid-19 test.
The game had a lot more miscues and poor play than Saturday’s opener, as if the teams had saved their rustiness for the fans carefully positioned four rows apart in the East Stand.
They didn’t have much to cheer from their own team in the first half, and Glasgow scored from their first attacking lineout, a maul stalled but skipper Fraser Brown broke off and cleverly spun away from tacklers to reach out and score, Adam Hastings converting.
Edinburgh’s best chance of the half came from one of a series of iffy kicks from Hastings allowing Duhan van der Merwe to breeze past tackles, and Hamish Watson was high-tackled as he charged to the line by Huw Jones.
The new full-back saw a yellow card after a TMO check and Nathan Chamberlain, who had missed an early chance, landed the easy penalty.
The rest of the half was a succession of missed chances, mostly from Glasgow who blew two lineout drive chances inside the Edinburgh 22, and then couldn’t force in some quality possession five metres from the home line just the break, with two TMO checks failing to produce a score.
Glasgow forced Edinburgh back into their 22 to start the second half with a Hastings half-break but again couldn’t force a score, but Edinburgh were turned over themselves as they threatened in the Warriors’ 22 just before the hour.
From the penalty Price tapped and raced 40 metres, and although the ball went loose Glasgow regathered and got impetus from a break by Brown, Stafford McDowall nearly breaking through but linking with Huw Jones for Tagive to go in at the corner for an unconverted try.
Hastings added a penalty to stretch Glasgow’s lead to 15-3 with 15 minutes remaining, while and a turnover from Zander Fagerson as Edinburgh pressed and a huge clearance kick from replacement Pete Horne ended any danger at the other end.
Edinburgh: Blair Kinghorn; Darcy Graham, James Johnstone, Chris Dean (capt), Duhan van der Merwe; Nathan Chamberlain, Charlie Shiel; Pierre Schoeman, Mike Willemse, Simon Berghan; Nick Haining, Jamie Hodgson; Magnus Bradbury, Hamish Watson, Viliame Mata.
Replacements: Stuart McInally for Willemse 43, Rory Sutherland for Schoeman 43, WP Nel for Berghan 43, Marshall Sykes for Mata 66, Luke Crosbie for Watson 53, Roan Frostwick for Shiel 66, Matt Gordon for Dean 62.
Glasgow: Huw Jones; Tommy Seymour, Nick Grigg, Stafford McDowall, Ratu Tagive; Adam Hastings, George Horne; Oli Kebble, Fraser Brown (capt), Zander Fagerson; Rob Harley, Scott Cummings; Ryan Wilson, Tom Gordon, Matt Fagerson.
Replacements: George Turner for Brown 70, Charlie Capps for Kebble 76, Enrique Pieretto for Z Fagerson 76, Kiran McDonald for Harley 76, Chris Fusaro for Wilson 70, Ali Price for G Horne 54, Pete Horne for Hastings 70, Robbie Nairn for Tagive 62.
Ref: Ben Blain (SRU)