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What's the difference between Glasgow and Edinburgh?

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John Beattie | 18:04 UK time, Sunday, 18 December 2011

So, who's going to win? There's an 1872 cup at stake over two games and Glasgow are the holders?

You'll have heard all the old jokes.

A table and chairs on a pavement in Edinburgh means it's a cafe, in Glasgow it's an eviction.

Glasgow people are friendlier and Edinburgh folk will say: "You'll have had your tea?".

And if you're looking for folk wandering around the East End in tracksuits who can't speak English there is no need to wait until Glasgow 2014.

All of which masks a truth - both cities are great places to be. I prefer Glasgow and Edinburgh to any other UK cities.

And in recent times you'll have noticed they have a professional rugby team each.

Come the weekend it will be mayhem as they take each other on.

It's a trial for the Scotland team masquerading as a league game.

Let's look at the macro economics of it all first.

Edinburgh play a game interspersing a pick and go forward pack - I think they do that excellently using Jacobsen and Denton and the others - with a one pass game and then some width with big runners off stand off Greig Laidlaw and a willingness to find Tim Visser.

It's controlled and well-organised stuff.

Tom Smith has given them good technique at breakdown and in mauls and Michael Bradley has designed a game plan somewhere between Munster - hammer up as a pack and set up a back attack - and Andy Robinson's Scotland pattern.

Glasgow play a three pod system attacking both wings and the midfield depending on where they are in relation to the try line, and they throw in a one-pass game the closer they get.

Duncan Weir is edging closer to a cap call up, Jon Welsh and Ryan Grant get nearer their peaks, and enough has been said about the likes of Richie Gray.

Glasgow's defence and their scrummaging are their strong suits with Shade Munro providing a solid lineout platform as coach and Sean Lineen putting faith in a running game, Edinburgh's newly found abrasion and and individual firepower within a tidy game plan are theirs.

The interesting thing about the match is that all of the Scots on the pitch are good enough to play for their country.

There will be a head-to-head between Mike Blair and Chris Cusiter. Ross Ford will be put under pressure. Depending upon who lines up in the midfield the centres will be facing direct Scotland rivals, and as is tradition the biggest battle will be in the back row.

Edinburgh's David Denton is the man expected to make the biggest impact and wants to play Number 8, while his team mate Roddy Grant is a class open side who will want to take on John Barclay.

Barclay joins his prospective team mate Beattie from being under pressure from fellow Glasgow players Chris Fusaro and and Ryan Wilson and have been written off in some quarters.

I say all these names, of course, before I know the teams as I haven't mentioned Stuart McInally and Ross Rennie, both fine players.

Duncan Weir and Ruaridh Jackson will joust with Laidlaw.

It's all mouth watering stuff frankly.

Here's how I see the game at Murrayfield.

Edinburgh have the psychological advantage in that they do not hold the 1872 cup. It's always easier to try to win something than hold onto it.

Both sets of players - for some reason, and nobody will quite know why - will put their bodies on the line as never before this season.

Something about a local derby.

Can I simplify things? If Edinburgh contain the Glasgow scrum, get their pick and smash up through the likes of Denton, they'll win.

If Glasgow can dominate at scrum time, nullify the Edinburgh threats, and get some smash up rugby going, they'll win.

I just don't know though.

There are reputations to be made or broken. I'll be there. Can't wait.

Right, where's that cafe...?

Who do you think will win?


  • Comment number 1.

    Good questions John. It is really refreshing that both teams are doing relatively well in Europe and the League. In reality it is hard to pick a winner and it may come down to external factors such as the weather or the referee's interpretations. i just hope that important players don't get injured with the Six Nations now looming.

  • Comment number 2.

    Great post John and as amadalmarnockweegiethatjistflitteddoontaethebordersanat - take a breath - taegitedukashunantaetalkproper. One has to give the nod to Glasgow as their backs have more speed and flair and in combination with their strong pack ,therjistpuregalas. Of course depite having Edinburgh as a neighbour one could be just a wee bit biased.

  • Comment number 3.


    "glasgows backs have more speed and flair"

    I know its opinion and stuff, but this is a joke surely? Hogg and Weir aside, glasgows backs have been pretty atrocious this season. They struggle to maintain cohesion and find the line, and flair is the last word id use to describe them. Even though I mentioned weir above as a standout, hes struggling to get his backline moving. You are the second lowest try scorers in the league, Edinburgh have scored double the amount you have, our back three alone have scored more than glasgows entire team.

    Of course it all comes down to the day, and im not writing glasgow off, just pointing out that they are playing terrible rugby at the moment.

  • Comment number 4.

    Tough to call the 2 games. It may just come down to Murrayfield being a wide expanse so suitng the Edinburgh game and Firhill being a tight surface and suiting the Glasgow style of play.

    In other words a diplomatic win each is most likely.

    Looking forward to seeing Beattie,Barclay and Harley locking horns with the likes of Denton,Rennie and McInally.

  • Comment number 5.

    Simplified ?! Certainly is. I thought the the supossed benefit of an ex rugby player is to explain things more technically but the below sounds like something straight out of a kids training session in amateur days.

    "..If Edinburgh contain the Glasgow scrum, get their pick and smash up through the likes of Denton, they'll win.

    If Glasgow can dominate at scrum time, nullify the Edinburgh threats, and get some smash up rugby going, they'll win."

    Beattie's blogs mostly read like they are churned out during breakfast and often border on excerpts from his personal diary..'went for jog..have band jamming session tonight, having coco pops for breakfast..mmm'

    What about the new arrivals to the 1872 game ? There must be a dozen new up and coming players to this fixture. What about Edinburgh struggling in league but consistent in Heinekin ?


    How can Lineen continue to alter Jackson for Weir when Weir is in much better form and looking the better player ? Also well done to Bradley for subbing Leonard last week. He gave the youngster a chance but he has been terrible for a while and doesn't look ready for this level yet, especially as he cannot kick pens. It's great to see youth get a chance but also can be unproductive for everyone if not performing, maybe next year for him.

  • Comment number 6.

    I'll declare my hand before I say anything else - I'm a Warriors fan.

    Does form go out the window when it comes to a local Derby? Glasgow have been grinding out wins or draws while not playing as well as they could, and have certainly shown a resilience that has kept them in games they would have lost in the past.

    For me Greg Laidlaw is the key man for Edinburgh - a talented footballer no doubt, but what makes him stand above many others is his rugby brain and decision making. He's the player in the Edinburgh team I fear the most as he'll give direction to the rest of the team.

    The consensus among many Warriors fans is that we're lacking a bit of creativity at 12 & 13 at the moment. I think this is one reason why we are not scoring as many trys as the men from the East.

    Team selection will be interesting, so I'm intrigued to see if Glasgow bring in Lemi and give him a run on the wide Murrayfield pitch. Tom Ryder has been one of our standout players, and he would be one of the first players on my team sheet - yes, ahead of Kellock and Gray. Will Lineen be bold enough to drop one of his international locks and start with Ryder?

    Despite his poor first half in France I'd also like to see the Warriors start with Hogg at 15. We all know the Edinburgh defence can be rather porous, and he'd be our man to weave through the gaps running from deep.

    Oh, and who will win? Glasgow to hold onto the 1872 cup.

  • Comment number 7.

    Taking the best of both teams, things do appear to be looking-up for Scotland, though Robinson's apparent preference for familiarity over form may stomp all over any optimism we may be feeling at the moment.

    Laidlaw appears to be the key to unlocking some much-needed try scoring for Scotland, comfortably shading Weir for my preference at 10, with Jackson's inconsistency a disappointment. The loose forwards have made the coming contests intriguing, as Barclay cannot be confident of getting the nod for Scotland, needing to produce something he hasn't been to get back into the reckoning.

    Is Denton worthy of the hype? He was talked-up last summer, but we're not generally lacking in the loose and there are those ranked ahead of him who won't be playing in these matches. I hope he is, as competition for places is always healthy.

    The weather will play its part in deciding what type of play will be possible, as it always does, so let's hope it's benign and the teams can try to assert their own style on the game. I suspect Glasgow's forwards and tight defence might settle the issue, but wouldn't bet anyone else's shirt on that.

  • Comment number 8.

    Although I think it'll be close I'd have to say Edinburgh are the team on form at the moment, coming off that excellent display against Cardiff Blues in the Heineken cup earlier this week, they'll definitely be looking to smash Glasgow. Visser's looking unstoppable at the moment, and it'll be interesting to see if Glasgow can contain that threat.

  • Comment number 9.

    Two different styles of play from each team. Glasgow suck the life out of teams, kick their points and then a gap will appear for a try or two. Edinburgh very expansive unleashing their speedy wingers Visser and Jones. Will be an interesting game with lots of aggresion and physicality as always. Wish I could go, hope there is a good crowd.
    Edinburgh will win at murrayfield, Glasgow will win at Firhill. But Glasgow will win the cup overall.

  • Comment number 10.

    Very much looking forward to the two games as always.

    Despite the great incentives for the public to get involved in the games, the schedueling needs to be looked at given that there are no trains running on Boxing Day or New Year's Day - the matchdays.

    How do the SRU expect record crowds when there is the possibility of being stranded in either city overnight freezing unless you're driving?

    Fortunately both games are Live on TV so hopefully more people can enjoy the occasion.

    For what it's worth I believe Edinburgh will have too much firepower for Glasgow on Boxing Day and depending on the margin, Glasgow should win the Firhill leg as per ususal but it'll be close.

  • Comment number 11.

    Thank goodness Edinburgh have not brought out a jersey this year. The only decent one was the "Thistles" when we won. The rest, well Andy Warhol's nightmare just about describes them and we never seemed to win in those multicoloured things.
    I'm not too fussed about the derbies this year as both teams given where they are in their respective HC groups should give the Heineken Cup a real go. A good showing in the competition will regain more respect for Scottish rugby than the two 1872 matches. It's a close call in a number of groups so who knows what will happen. Both sides through to knockout rugby whether its Heineken or Amlin would be a good thing. Go for it Embra!

  • Comment number 12.

    As long as they don't crock each other in time for the six nations. Go Warriors!

  • Comment number 13.

    PT8475 @ 8. Last year Visser went into the Derby as the form winger in the Magners league. You'd have not known he was on the pitch. Lee Jones was far more prominent. Visser needs space to run at, and Glasgow will not afford him that, but will try and expose his defensive frailties. Jones on the other hand seems capable of weaving his way through traffic, and I expect him to be more of a handful than Visser.

    I'm not saying one is "better' than the other, but that they have different style of play and strengths, and Glasgow can cope more easily with Visser, especially at Firhill, than they will with Jones, in my opinion.

  • Comment number 14.

    I think that it is fantastic that there is such interest in the Glasgow v Edinburgh games. This only goes to show how well the teams have performed this season, particularly in the HC! What a turn up for the books when we feel disappointed that Glasgow only drew in Montpellier. For what its worth I though John Beattie Jnr was a stand out in that game, hopefully he can maintain that form. Barclay was also back near his best.

    Of the two, Glasgow have been more consistent this season, 1 deafeat in their last 10 is outstanding. Edinburgh have looked excellent of late and I agree that Lee Jones is an outstanding prospect whilst Visser is an excellent finisher.

    I would sit on the fence and go for a victory apiecem hope for two good games and no injuries.

    AR is going to have his work cut out selecting the national squad, so many have thrown their hats in the ring with their performances. Real challenge there to get our best balanced XV on the park come January. Nice problem to have! Come on the Scots, nows our time!

  • Comment number 15.

    I agree that until the last ball is kicked it is all just opinions but I am so confident of a Glasgow win I forecast a score of 19-28. This score -completely incidentally - reflects the present points totals in the Rabo Pro League. If I get the score wrong I'll even make you a cup of tea.
    I also hope the scots in both teams come through unscathed prior to the six nations.

  • Comment number 16.

    For the first time in a while I'm really excited about this match. The matchups all over the pitch will be fascinating. Edinburgh's 'all Scotland' will come under pressure from Ryan Grant and friends. JB junior with something to prove, the battle of the open sides. Cusiter & Weir v Blair & Laidlaw.....Mouthwatering.

    I was hugely impressed by the physicality of Dave Denton against Cardiff, another big display like that and he won't be far away from the Scotland team.

    My one Christmas wish would be for Glasgow to try out Jackson at inside centre.

  • Comment number 17.

    doh.. #16 that should read "Edinburgh's 'all Scotland' front row......"

  • Comment number 18.

    As with most posters I will sit on the fence and go for home wins.

    I hope all play to their potential and those on the fringe of the Scotland squad put in good shifts in front of Andy Robinson.

    Some of the established players should be nervous as the young guns are starting to perform, credit to themselves and the coaches. Hogg/Brown, Lee Jones, Laidlaw (not so young in rugby terms!), Gilchrist, Denton, Harley and Grant/Rennie all potential 2012 6N caps in my opinion.

    The front row battle will be fascinating with some reputations to be made and some in danger. The Glasgow 8 look a better tight and set piece unit and I'd give Edinburgh a slight edge in the loose. Therefor wet muddy games may suit Glasgow more than Edinburgh.

    I will also look forward to see the influence of Michael Bradley on the fixtures for the first time. After a stuttering start he is now getting Edinburgh to play to a particular game plan which works for them, but can they secure quality first phase ball to implement the plan... If the Edinburgh backs can get a bit of space then I fancy them against anyone.

    I'm looking forward to these games more than I have done for years and will be going along and showing my support.

  • Comment number 19.

    Should be a pair of Xmas crackers on Boxing day and New years day. I think that home advantage will prevail in both games and that Edinburgh will take back the cup via a huge Dutch(Soon to be Scots) try scoring machine. Only sorry I can't make it to the games, but will be watching on TV here in Germany. On the Scotland side of things, I agree that AR has his work cut out in his selection for the 2012 6N. I recently thought that Weir would overtake Jackson for the N° 10 jersey but I'm now thinking that Laidlaw is the dog's organ and should be his first choice stand off. Not only that, he's not too shabby a scrum half either and did quite well in his two games at international level.Got tickets for the Calcutta cup match and I am looking forwards to seeing some new faces for Scotland, Hopefully :-

    PS just heard the news that the Lamonts are invading Glasgow...........lets hope more players are coming home.

  • Comment number 20.

    Jackson is going to struggle shortly to even get in team....
    he is also too much of a 'feardie 'to play centre......has always been overhyped by Lineen

  • Comment number 21.

    For me edinburgh will win the cup, they may not win at firhill but on the wider pitch at murrayfield i dont think glasgow will be able to contain them and we could see a very comfertable margain of victory. They just have a lot more dynamism than glasgow at the moment, people talk about glasgow having a better pack but the only place i can see that in is the second row. I mean can we really argue glasgow's front row over jacobson ford and cross? As for the back row, denton, grant and macinally have been outstanding for edinburgh, whereas players such as barclay have gone off form. Edinburgh play rugby that could beat any side anywhere, whereas glasgows rugby is only really affective at firhill. As for scotland, denton and laidlaw have to start, cant see a place for jackson- he has always been over rated, weir should make the squad.

  • Comment number 22.

    Can't wait for these games although do agree that having them on days when there is no public transport is a bit of a schoolboy error!

    I feel the battle of the 10's will settle the resuls but think its too close to call, perhaps just Glasgow, but only by the odd point.

    What a great position for us to be in where we have multiple international standard players against each other all over the pitch, who said rugby is in decline in Scotland. I say BRING IT ON !! More excited about theses games and the 6N games than Santa coming !!!

  • Comment number 23.

    Both teams will be under strength as they still have a chance to get to the next round of the Heinekin. Glasgow have more ability in depth and should win by a few points.


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