Comment: Finn Russell needs to take control for Glasgow

Have Edinburgh got Glasgow’s number? The capital club’s record of domination of the last few 1872 Cup meetings looks convincing, but just one of those matches has been at Scotstoun, venue for the second leg.

That was in May when Edinburgh spoiled Gregor Townsend’s leaving party. But the season had long fizzled out for that Warriors team, and it could be argued that Edinburgh under Duncan Hodge, even though hapless for much of the second half of the season, were actually more motivated than their hosts.

There’s no excuse for lack of motivation from Glasgow today. They were embarrassed and humiliated at Murrayfield last week, and for all that Edinburgh’s determination and resilience with 14 men were admirable, they should never have got to the point where they could – however deservedly – win the game.

If the balance of aggression is the same, 15 versus 15 for the full 80, Edinburgh should win again.  Glasgow have the same injury issues they had last week, a weakened back row and physically undermanned back five in the pack, although they have upped the pace by including Matt Fagerson.

The stature of their backline, with Ruaridh Jackson, Lee Jones, Nick Grigg and Niko Matawalu all under 6 feet, could be something Edinburgh could target with big Blair Kinghorn and Ruhan van der Merwe in their team.

Glasgow’s advantage lies in the front row, where Edinburgh are down the bare bones and beyond, and with Finn Russell. Time for the Scotland stand-off to grab this game by the scruff of the neck and impose himself – not just with ball in hand but getting his team in the right areas of the field.

Had his team-mates finished what he created in the second half at Murrayfield, there would have been no humiliation. He has to be the difference if the destiny of the cup is to be decided in the third leg.

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