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1872 Cup: Edinburgh’s formidable depth will carry them to another victory over Glasgow

Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill.
Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill.

Putting aside the mischevious banter, Richard Cockerill is more than a little disingenuous as he contorts himself to make Edinburgh underdogs against Glasgow.

Only once, in what was virtually a trial match with a limited live audience back in August (how naive were we even then?) has Cockerill lost to Glasgow at Murrayfield.

He’s missing only Grant Gilchrist compared to Glasgow’s huge absentee list. The very small funding discrepancy in the Warriors’ favour – never adequately explained or justified – does not prove Cockerill’s point.

Glasgow do have a fairly decent-looking starting XV for this game. With Adam Hastings still rehabbing his shoulder and Pete Horne out with concussion, only Brandon Thomson at 10 looks to be a stop-gap.

Look at the benches, however, and it suddenly all becomes clear.

19 appearances between them

Teenage scrum-half Jamie Dobbie is one of the more experienced players on the Glasgow bench.

Johnny Mathews, George Thornton, Jamie Dobbie and Ross Thompson may turn out to be all Danny Wilson hopes them to be. But they have 19 appearances for the club between them, and the hugely promising scrum-half Dobbie has 13 of them.

Thompson is a microcosm of the difficulties of Covid – Wilson has been impressed by the former Under-20 vice-captain in training. Yet because club rugby is still shut down, the Ayr Bulls 10 hasn’t played a single game this season.

Edinburgh have the slightly less callow Nathan Chamberlain as the back-up 10 on their bench but the rest of the group are all hardened internationalists or PRO14 veterans.

The final 20 minutes will be crucial

After an hour Cockerill will probably wave on Rory Sutherland – our Scotland player of the year for 2020 – and Simon Berghan to replace Pierre Schoeman and WP Nel.

That will be the decisive difference. Glasgow are down enough men to be slight underdogs when both starting XVs face up. They’re definitely going to be struggling in comparison for the crucial final 20 minutes.

Which should leave Edinburgh to comfortably continue their recent stranglehold over the competitive games in this annual fixture.

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