Edinburgh will head into the first instalment of the Greaves Sports 1872 Cup with an instruction from coach Rob Moffat to heed the lessons of last season’s inter-city clashes and ensure that a fine recent record in the Magners League survives the heat of derby day.
The capital club have won five of their last seven games in the competition, but Moffat today encouraged his troops to look back a little further as they prepare to face Glasgow Warriors at Firhill on Monday 27 December (kick-off 5.35pm).
Speaking as he named a 28-man squad for the game, Moffat demanded a more controlled and cohesive display than was the case last time out in Maryhill, when Edinburgh slipped to a 25-12 defeat that was the pre-cursor to a 22-15 loss at Murrayfield six days later.
He said: “There are any number of incentives for us to win on Monday, but it’s going to take a much better performance than the one we produced 12 months ago and the players know exactly what will be required.
“I felt we didn’t do ourselves justice in either game last year, and that’s one of the worst feelings you can be left with coming away from a match. Nobody in our camp wants to go through that again, and we need to show we’ve learned from the experience.
“Derby games are that bit special, because of the hype and whole atmosphere that surround them, but at the end of the day it takes the same things to win them as any other match. You’ve got to really front up, play with control and conviction and not give away soft penalties. Those are the things we’ll be asking for from the players and I’m positive we’ll get the right response.
“We go into these games as the team with something to prove: Glasgow are the holders, they tend to do well at home and they’ve got a squad full of international players. Everyone at Edinburgh has to really step up to the mark and deliver for themselves and for the supporters.”
Included in Moffat’s squad is lock Scott MacLeod, who hasn’t featured for the club since sustaining a rib injury during Scotland’s epic EMC Autumn Test win over South Africa. The Borderer’s second row colleague Fraser McKenzie also returns, having missed Monday’s rearranged Heineken Cup game against Castres with a minor back strain.
Moffat explained: “With the Castres match having been so physical, there are still a few bumps and bruises around, and that’s why we’re giving guys a little bit more time before we name the team.
“We know it’s going to be another massively intense challenge at Firhill on Monday, so we’re going to need people to be in the right place physically to cope with that.
“I’m really looking forward to this game and the one at Murrayfield [on Sunday 2 January, kick-off 5.35pm]. The Greaves Sports 1872 Cup has grown hugely in my time in the club, and seems to really capture people’s imagination.
“They’re always fantastic occasions to be part of, but the way to really enjoy the day and make it memorable is to go out and win the game.”
The Edinburgh match 23 will be circulated by email by Mark Palmer on Friday.
EDINBURGH SQUAD FOR GREAVES SPORTS 1872 CUP GAME AGAINST GLASGOW WARRIORS AT FIRHILL ON MONDAY 27 DECEMBER (KICK-OFF 5.35PM)
Backs: Chris Paterson, Lee Jones, Jim Thompson, Tim Visser, Simon Webster, Ben Cairns, John Houston, Nick De Luca, Alex Grove, James King, David Blair, Greig Laidlaw
Forwards: Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford, Geoff Cross, Andrew Kelly, Kyle Traynor, David Young, Scott MacLeod, Fraser McKenzie, Steven Turnbull, Craig Hamilton, Stuart McInally, Scott Newlands, Ross Rennie, Roddy Grant, Netani Talei, Alan MacDonald.