Edinburgh & Glasgow: How have Scotland's two pro teams fared in 2018? And what can we expect in 2019?
|Pro 14 & 1872 Cup: Glasgow v Edinburgh|
|Venue: Scotstoun, Date: Saturday, 29 December Kick-off: 15:00 BST|
|Coverage: Listen live on Radio Scotland & online; text commentary on BBC Sport website & app|
Glasgow and Edinburgh meet for a second time in a week on Saturday in the second leg of their annual 1872 Cup series at Scotstoun.
Edinburgh enjoyed a 23-7 victory in the first leg at Murrayfield last Saturday, their sixth win in the last eight inter-city derbies, to boost their hopes of qualifying for the Pro14 play-offs for a second straight year.
Despite defeat, Glasgow remain on course to reach the play-offs for a seventh time in eight years.
But how are the teams progressing more generally as 2018 comes to an end? What have been the highlights? Where have they improved? Where do they still have work to do? And what can we expect in 2019?
Former Glasgow half-back Colin Gregor (CG) and former Scotland prop Peter Wright (PW) give their report card for both sides.
Glasgow: "Their forwards have made a big step up in their physicality. They are dominating teams now which hasn't always happened in the past. They can still improve on that but they are definitely making progress there. The other one is the balance between control and chaos. Glasgow want to play a fast-tempo, high-risk game, but it's knowing how they do it, when they do it and knowing when there are options to have a bit more control." (CG)
Edinburgh: "Defensively they are much stronger. They are starting to believe in their attack now. Duncan Hodge, the attack coach, has them playing better than they have in the past. They've got a back three in Blair Kinghorn, Duhan van der Merwe and now Darcy Graham, who are real quality players. I think having Henry Pyrgos at nine has given them much better game-management. Overall both their defence and attack are heading in the right direction." (PW)
Room for improvement?
Glasgow: "The intensity, or the 'brutality' as Dave Rennie likes to call it, they have in the big games, the really physical ones - a Saracens, a fully-loaded Leinster, Munster or even Edinburgh. Just having that ability to mix it so you can then release the backs. I still think an area to work on is their discipline. They still give away too many soft penalties." (CG)
Edinburgh: "In midfield they've had long-term injuries to Mark Bennett and Matt Scott. The two guys there just now, Chris Dean and James Johnstone, are playing OK but I think Edinburgh could get a lot more out of their midfield. They are strong in the back three, their half-backs are managing the game much better and they've got a pack of forwards that are solid. So if they could get Bennett and Scott back, that would give them more options in attack." (PW)
Glasgow: "I find it hard to narrow it down to just one. Oli Kebble has added a real solidity to the scrum which is so important. He's got a bit about him in open play as well. Filling Finn Russell's boots is never going to be easy but Adam Hastings, as someone pretty new to professional rugby, has done a pretty commendable job. And George Horne, for the spark that he provides for Glasgow, the support lines he picks to score tries, the threat that he is and what that allows them to do." (CG)
Edinburgh: "You've got to say Bill Mata at number eight. I don't think he's been a revelation but he's come into the Edinburgh systems and played exceptionally well. He carries ball more than anybody else and the challenge is to keep him fit and available for all the vital games. Close behind Mata, I'd say wing Darcy Graham is starting to be a real influence on matches. He's a young player that has come through and looks to have a very bright future." (PW)
Highlights of 2018
Glasgow: "The most significant moment I feel for Glasgow was beating Cardiff Blues away in Europe the week after losing to Saracens at home. It was massive that they went down there and got a bonus point. It got their European season back on track. It's never easy winning away from home in Europe. The one for the fans was probably beating Scarlets with 14 men at Scotstoun. A strong Scarlets team, an under-strength Glasgow team - that was significant in the way they played and how they got that done." (CG)
Edinburgh: "Making the Pro14 play-offs and qualifying for the main European competition for the first time in five years was a big statement and the challenge for Edinburgh now is to maintain that high level. Getting into the play-offs, staying in the top competition in Europe. Once they get used to that, I think they can push to become a bigger force than they are at the moment." (PW)
Targets for 2019?
Glasgow: "They'll target winning the Pro14. Reaching the final at Celtic Park is a bare minimum. Quarter-finals of Europe will be a real target for the team. I think it's really important for Glasgow Warriors to keep Dave Rennie. I would like to see them improve the spectator experience at Scotstoun, the quality of the clubhouse and the facilities around and about. I was thinking they should make a big signing, but I'm not sure it's even about that but rather not losing any more of their key players or starting internationals. They're losing Stuart Hogg so it's just about making sure they keep hold of the rest of the Scotland guys." (CG)
Edinburgh: "They have to be looking again to make the Pro14 play-offs and reaching the main European competition. It's probably the main target every season. Similar to what they did last year and maybe go a little further in the Pro14. They were a bit unlucky in the play-offs; they probably could have beaten Munster in the quarter-finals, so they might look to go a little further this year." (PW)