Depleted Glasgow hit the gas late to hand Edinburgh 1872 Cup deficit
Injury-hit Glasgow produced a stirring finish against inter-city rivals Edinburgh to seize the initiative in the 1872 Cup and move to the top of the United Rugby Championship table with a hard-fought 22-10 victory at Scotstoun.
But Grant Gilchrist’s 65th-minute yellow card proved pivotal, paving the way for the hosts to draw clear and open up a 12-point first-leg lead through late scores from Johnny Matthews and Ally Miller.
Glasgow went into the derby depleted by the absence of several key men through injury, including Scotland internationals Matt Fagerson, Jack Dempsey, Jamie Dobie, Kyle Steyn and Ollie Smith, who is facing the prospect of a year on the sidelines with a knee injury.
Edinburgh coach Sean Everitt, by contrast, was able to name a strong line-up, which included Scotland scrum-half Ali Price as he returned to Scotstoun for the first time since making a surprise loan move along the M8 to Edinburgh last month.
Glasgow got the scoreboard ticking over in the seventh minute through a Ross Thompson penalty.
The hosts stretched their advantage with a superbly-worked try 10 minutes later as Rowe eased over on the left following a magnificent offload from Josh McKay. Thompson was wide with his conversion attempt.
Glasgow’s injury problems worsened just before the half-hour as Scotland hooker George Turner was forced off and replaced by Matthews, the URC’s top try-scorer.
Edinburgh got themselves back in the game in the 34th minute when veteran Nel pushed his way over from close range, with Ben Healy adding the extras.
Healy was off target with a penalty from the halfway line two minutes before the break but the stand-off made no mistake with his next attempt from a much shorter distance in the 47th minute, edging the visitors two points ahead.
But the game swung back in Glasgow’s favour in the 65th minute when Edinburgh lock Gilchrist was sin-binned following a series of fouls from his team.
Warriors took full advantage within two minutes as hooker Matthews notched his ninth try of the season with a trademark finish from the back of a maul. George Horne converted.
Miller all-but secured victory for the hosts in the 74th minute with a brilliant run in from the left after being fed by McKay and Horne again converted, ensuring Warriors take a 12-point lead to Murrayfield for the second leg of the 1872 Cup next Saturday.
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