Glasgow Warriors booked their Guinness PRO14 home semi-final and ended Edinburgh’s season with a proper “rope-a-dope” performance on the way to a handsome victory at Scotstoun.
The Warriors soaked up almost continual pressure from their rivals but repelled every assault and then counter-punched with brutal effect, scoring three tries in the first hour to build a comfortable 27-3 lead.
After Sam Johnson, Ali Price and Niko Matawalu finished those tries, Tommy Seymour scored a fourth in the final minutes as Adam Hastings was perfect with six successful kicks.
Edinburgh needed at least two match points to get a Heineken Champions Cup qualifying game after their PRO14 play-off hopes were ended by Benetton’s win over Zebre earlier in the day, but their season is now over after they only added to Simon Hickey’s first-half penalty with a Duhan van der Merwe try in injury-time.
Needing at least two match points to keep their season going, Edinburgh stuck to the conservative gameplan that had won them the two previous 1872 Cup games at Christmas, but they were a lot less clinical and the Warriors made them pay dearly in the first half.
Glasgow’s determination was quickly established by Tommy Seymour’s strong hit on Darcy Graham as the Edinburgh full-back fielded the opening kick-off, and Glasgow forced a penalty at the first maul, Hastings knocking it over for a 3-0 lead with barely a minute and a half gone.
And on their first concerted attack with ball in hand, the Warriors poured through in fine style for the opening try. Hogg and Hastings were both involved twice but it was Niko Matawalu’s off-load out of the tackle that allowed Sam Johnson to step his way past Henry Pyrgos and go under the posts, Hastings converting.
Edinburgh finally got their game together and forced a penalty at the setpiece, Hickey getting them on the scoreboard from the penalty, and then they stalled Glasgow defending their own 22 with a turnover.
But just as they were putting together a pattern of phases that looked like weakening the Warriors, Price forced a turnover with a counter-ruck, Hogg dodged and stepped to break through, and then fed his scrum-half to finish the move he had started under the posts.
Edinburgh suffered another blow as Graham, who took a knock a few minutes earlier, left the field after the try was conceded.
Hastings’ conversion had Glasgow comfortably ahead but still Edinburgh had a clear setpiece advantage and sought to make it count with a powerful set of attacking phases.
But again, just as Edinburgh looked like breaking through, they spilled ball in the 22, Hogg booted downfield and Glasgow were unlucky that Matawalu couldn’t control Hastings’ cross kick.
The stand-off booted a penalty from an offside given as Edinburgh retreated, and Hastings was again there to rip the ball clear in the 22 as Edinburgh looked in vain for some sort of response before half-time.
Edinburgh tightened their grip on the ball and the setpiece as the second half started, but again just as they seemed to be forcing their will they opted to kick a penalty to touch just as another scrum might have produced a yellow card.
The Warriors took their chance to wriggle free, disrupting the maul and then Hastings’ last-gasp tackle on Duhan van der Merwe forced the big wing into touch.
And after 18 minutes of relentless Edinburgh pressure, the almost inevitable happened when the visitors lost a lineout and Glasgow broke out.
Scott Cummings went on a charge and nearly put in Seymour, but it was Hastings’ huge miss pass that gave Matawalu the time to go through Pyrgos for the third Warriors try, Hastings converting.
Edinburgh’s woe was compete with injuries to Pyrgos, Stuart McInally and Mark Bennett, and finally by a fourth try from their own 22, replacement George Horne breaking out, Hogg getting up to gather the scrum-half’s kick ahead and feeding Seymour for the easy score.
The other replacement 9, Edinburgh’s Charlie Shiel, gave some scant consolation to his side with a fine run, sidestep and off-load for van der Merwe to score, converted by Hickey.
Glasgow: S Hogg; T Seymour, J Steyn, S Johnson, N Matawalu; A Hastings, A Price; J Bhatti, F Brown (capt), Z Fagerson; S Cummings, R Harley; R Wilson, T Gordon, M Fagerson.
Replacements: K Bryce for Brown 69, A Allan for Bhatti 69, D Rae for Z Fagerson 65, K MacDonald for Cumming 70, T Tameilau for Wilson 65, G Horne for Price 60, P Horne for Johnson 65, R Hughes for Matawalu 65.
Edinburgh: D Graham; D Fife, J Johnstone, C Dean, D van der Merwe; S Hickey, H Pyrgos; P Schoeman, S McInally, WP Nel; B Toolis, G Gilchrist; J Barclay, H Watson, V Mata.
Replacements: R Ford for McInally 64, R Sutherland for Schoeman 64, S Berghan for Nel 60, C Hunter-Hill, M Bradbury for Mata 60, C Shiel for Pyrgos 60, J Baggott for Bennet 60, M Bennett for Graham 20.
Ref: M Adamson (SRU)