The 1872 Cup always has a special place on the calendar and Saturday’s first game at BT Murrayfield looks all the more enticing with the teams now out.
To do so, Cockerill has been able to call on a host of Scotland internationals, including a few who shone in November.
However, Dave Rennie, who like his English counterpart, will be experiencing this derby for the first time, has plenty of talent to call on himself.
So as the two great rivals prepare to do battle, we pick out some of the most tantalising match-ups on show this Saturday.
Scotland are blessed when it comes to talent in the second row, and while Jonny Gray may be the headline act of the four named to start this weekend, that doesn’t mean Glasgow will necessarily dominate.
The younger Gray is of course a tackling machine, and has shown his carrying prowess in recent weeks, and he will combine with rising talent Scott Cummings.
Called up to the national set-up by Gregor Townsend for the first time during the autumn internationals, the former Scotland Under-20s skipper has a big future ahead of him.
More pressing will dealing with the Edinburgh pair of Ben Toolis and Grant Gilchrist on Saturday. The former has continued where he left off last season as Edinburgh’s go-to man in the lineout.
Last year he led the entire league, and while he has been quite as dominant in the stats charts this season, he will still be a menace in the air.
Alongside him is Grant Gilchrist, the former Scotland skipper, who is Edinburgh’s leading tackler this season with 82.
MOBILE HOOKERS FACE OFF
Slowly but surely Fraser Brown looked to be establishing himself as Scotland’s first choice hooker until injury kept him out of virtually all of the November Tests.
That opened the door for Edinburgh’s Stuart McInally, who seized it with both hands helping himself to three tries in as many starts.
The former flanker has been busy for Edinburgh as well this year, with 65 tackles and 51 carries and will no doubt look to Toolis early and often when it comes to the lineout.
Brown, meanwhile, is back to full fitness and got his first start since his return away in Montpellier last weekend.
He’ll be desperate to show that he is back to his best against his Test rival.
A PAIR OF SNIPERS
The scrum-half match-up sees two in-form players going head-to-head with Sam Hidalgo-Clyne going up against Ali Price.
It’s hard to argue with Hidalgo-Clyne’s recent form, he even grabbed a hat-trick off the bench in his last Guinness PRO14 game, a 48-21 win away to the Southern Kings.
He leads the way for Edinburgh in terms of turnovers, and has also six clean breaks so far in the campaign.
Rennie can call on the services of Price, who made his 50th appearance for the Warriors last weekend.
Price is preferred to Scotland teammate Henry Pyrgos, and will look to put pressure on Hidalgo-Clyne at every opportunity.
Given the Edinburgh man’s strike rate this season, he will certainly have to be alive around the ruck to a trademark Hidalgo-Clyne snipe.
INTER-GENERATIONAL CLASH AT FULL-BACK
With 853 metres made so far in this season’s Guinness PRO14, Blair Kinghorn is way ahead of the field.
Still only 20 years old, Kinghorn has been a constant attacking threat from deep this season, and he will be looking to take advantage of the wide open space at BT Murrayfield on Saturday.
Lining up opposite him will be a man nine years his senior, but Ruaridh Jackson has spent the last 18 months showing that he is far more than just a capable back-up at full-back.
The long-time fly-half has thrived in the No.15 jersey on his return to Scotland, and has taken full advantage of injury to Stuart Hogg to show what he can do.
No one for the Warriors has carried the ball more than Jackson, who also sits second in the metres made and clean breaks charts, trailing only Leonardo Sarto.
While they will spend very little time in direct confrontation on Saturday, the player out of Kinghorn and Jackson who has the biggest impact with ball in hand could be crucial to the outcome of the game.
Add in both players’ ability to step in at first receiver and their respective kicking games and it could be the key battle of the afternoon.
Get tickets for the 1872 Cup clash at BT Murrayfield here: https://www.eticketing.co.uk/scottishrugby/EDP/Event/Index/2150
22 Dec 2017