History of the 1872 Cup – Five of the best encounters

Paul Eddison
20 December 2019

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Bragging rights are on the line at Scotstoun this weekend as the Glasgow Warriors host Edinburgh in the first of the season’s 1872 Cup clashes.

This is the first of three encounters, with Edinburgh have claimed victory both times since the trophy was decided in this format.

However this is a rivalry that goes back much further – as the name of the cup suggests.

A Glasgow district team took on their equivalents from the capital in November 1872, with teams made up of 20 players back in those days.

That makes it the world’s oldest derby and the rivalry was revived in the 2007/8 season, with the winners crowned on aggregate scoreline for a decade, before it became best of three two years ago.

There have been some classics over the last dozen years, and we have picked out five of the best:

PARKS THE HERO FOR WARRIORS

The first meeting in the rebranded rivalry was an absolute classic, Ben Cairns crossing at the death for Edinburgh to complete a thrilling 35-31 win over the Warriors, denying them a first win in the capital in 27 years.

That left Glasgow with four points to overhaul in the reverse fixture at Firhill. That seemed unlikely when Cairns put Andy Turnbull over to make it 11-10 to the visitors at the break.

Dan Parks already had one try to his name at that point, and in the second half he added a second, with John Barclay – who has crossed the divide and now plays for Edinburgh – helping set it up.

Parks finished with all 23 points in a 23-14 success as the Warriors emerged victorious by five points on aggregate.

THOMPSON TRY IN VAIN

Fast-forward three years and Glasgow Warriors looked to be cruising to a third 1872 Cup success in four seasons when they beat Edinburgh 30-18 at Firhill.

As the teams returned to BT Murrayfield, Netani Talei and Tim Visser (pictured below) had put Edinburgh in front, as they led by four points heading into the final stages, with eight points still to make up on the Warriors.

In fact, it was Glasgow who looked like they might snatch a fifth consecutive win over their rivals as they pressed for a late try. Instead, Jim Thompson popped up for an intercept and sprinted home, sealing a 28-17 success that was considerable consolation, despite a one-point defeat in the 1872 Cup.

VISSER ENDS WARRIORS RUN

A 16-6 win at home made it seven without defeat for Glasgow Warriors in late 2014, putting them in good shape to win a sixth successive 1872 Cup.

Edinburgh had really struggled against their domestic rivals, but when the teams met at BT Murrayfield on January 2, 2015, Tim Visser was the man to put an end to that streak.

The prolific winger went over twice before half-time as Edinburgh cruised into a 20-3 lead. The first was a simple finish from a Greig Tonks assist before he picked off a Peter Horne pass and raced 70 metres to go under the posts.

Seven points clear on aggregate, the second half was a case of battening down the hatches, and while Nikola Matawalu scored early in the half, Finn Russell could not convert.

That proved crucial as Edinburgh held out the Warriors for the rest of the game and claimed the 1872 Cup for just the second time, by two points!

BITTERSWEET FINALE FOR TOWNSEND

Edinburgh made it two in a row in the 1872 Cup the following year and come 2016/17 were looking for a hat-trick of trophies.

They got off to a disastrous start, going down 25-12 at home as the Warriors ran in three tries at BT Murrayfield.

The teams faced off again at Scotstoun in Gregor Townsend’s final match in charge before he took over as Scotland coach.

It was not to be the perfect farewell as Edinburgh exacted some revenge with a 29-18 success.

Glenn Bryce’s late try sealed the win for the men from the capital, but the consolation for Townsend was that the earlier away victory was enough to reclaim the cup in his final season at the helm.

14 MEN STUN WARRIORS

A year later and both teams were under new coaches, Dave Rennie at the Warriors and Richard Cockerill with Edinburgh.

Glasgow had made the perfect start in the league, winning ten from ten, and when Simon Berghan was sent off for a stamp after just six minutes, it seemed inevitable that they would make it 11.

But Edinburgh were already starting to resemble the never-say-die attitude of their coach and pulled off the most remarkable victory.

Trailing by 11 points after tries for Huw Jones and Scott Cummings, they looked dead and buried but a Nathan Fowles try got them back in it, 17-13 down.

And with time running out, they set up a powerful maul from which Chris Dean sniped round the corner for the winning try.

In the first iteration of the three-match series, Edinburgh were one up and they went on to clinch the 1872 Cup in the final meeting at BT Murrayfield, winning 24-19 after the Warriors had levelled matters with a 17-0 success back at Scotstoun.

Overall Glasgow Warriors still have the edge, hoisting the 1872 Cup seven times to their opponents’ five, but Edinburgh have now won two in a row.

In his final season at the helm, Dave Rennie will be desperate to go out on a high and get the better of the men from the capital.

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