The Guinness PRO14’s two Scottish teams face off as Glasgow Warriors host Edinburgh Rugby in the final round of the regular season with both gunning for a win ahead of the Finals Series.
Warrior’s semi-final spot is in their hands while Edinburgh hope a win in the 1872 Cup derby will give them a chance to sneak in for a semi-final qualifier place.
What’s at stake?
With Glasgow three points ahead of Munster at the top of Conference A they know a victory against their rivals will secure their place through to the semi-finals of the knockout phase.
Only a bonus-point win will give Edinburgh a chance to qualify for the Finals Series, while they will need to better the result of Scarlets to secure a fourth-place play-off for the final Champions Cup spot.
Team News (Glasgow Warriors)
Fraser Brown has been named Warriors captain for tomorrow’s sold-out game against neighbours Edinburgh, as Dave Rennie makes just one change to his starting XV.
Rennie rewards the team that beat Leinster two weeks ago by sticking with the same line-up other than one alteration enforced by an injury to Chris Fusaro, with Tom Gordon coming in.
On the bench, club co-captain Ryan Wilson is selected for the first time since getting injured playing for Scotland back in February.
— Edinburgh Rugby (@EdinburghRugby) April 26, 2019
Team News (Edinburgh Rugby)
Scotland international Hamish Watson will make his 100th Edinburgh appearance in a side that includes five changes to the side that faced Ulster a fortnight ago.
A revamped centre partnership sees James Johnstone and Chris Dean return from injury to start, while Simon Hickey and Dougie Fife are selected at stand-off and wing respectively in the place of injured duo Jaco van der Walt and Damien Hoyland.
John Barclay, the 71-times capped back-row, is named at blindside flanker in place of Magnus Bradbury – who drops to the bench – in the only alteration to the pack.
Glasgow Warriors head coach Dave Rennie said: “Ever since we dropped to second in the conference behind Munster back in January we’ve been under pressure and we’ve not lost a game since then.
“To win titles you have to be able to perform under pressure and we’ve shown in recent weeks, especially in the last two rounds against Ulster here and Leinster in Dublin, that we can rise to those occasions and actually thrive when there is a lot at stake.
“We’ve got ourselves in a good spot and we know if we win tomorrow night we won’t have to leave Glasgow again this season.”
Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill said: “There’s obviously a lot of games happening before we play, so we’ll know exactly what we need to do before the match.
“Certainly, for a top-three position we’re relying other results but for us to finish fourth and qualify for Europe via a play-off, it’s in our own hands.
“We’ll of course be supporting Zebre and Dragons and if results go against us we’ve at least got to match what Scarlets do, so there’s everything to play for.”
Key Battle – Stuart Hogg vs Darcy Graham
Following the announcement that Hogg will end his nine-year spell at Warriors, the two-time British and Irish Lion will be determined to give the fans something to smile about against their rivals.
His Scotland team-mate will be determined to spoil the party however as Edinburgh look to do all they can to extend their season.
As his time with the club enters its final chapter, Stuart Hogg opens up about his nine years as a Glasgow Warrior, as well as:
🏉 Playing for Hawick
🏴 Scotland call up
🦁 Lions heartbreak
👨👩👧👦 Starting a family
All on this week's unmissable episode of Warriors Weekly 🎧🎙 pic.twitter.com/RTEba1d2Wj
— Glasgow Warriors (@GlasgowWarriors) April 25, 2019
Did you know? The Warriors solitary defeat at Scotstoun Stadium in the Guinness PRO14 this season was to Edinburgh on 29 December.
Key stat: Edinburgh have won just twice away from home in the Championship this season – at Glasgow in round 12 and at Scarlets in round 19.
Glasgow Warriors: Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Kyle Steyn, Sam Johnson, Niko Matawalu, Adam Hastings, Ali Price, Jamie Bhatti, Fraser Brown (c), Zander Fagerson, Scott Cummings, Jonny Gray, Rob Harley, Tom Gordon, Matt Fagerson
Replacements: Grant Stewart, Alex Allan, D’Arcy Rae, Tevita, Tameilau, Ryan Wilson, George Horne, Pete Horne, Rory Hughes
Edinburgh: Darcy Graham, James Johnstone, Chris Dean, Duhan van der Merwe, Simon Hickey, Henry Pyrgos, Pierre Schoeman, Stuart McInally (c), WP Nel, Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist, John Barclay, Hamish Watson, Viliame Mata
Replacements: Ross Ford, Rory Sutherland, Simon Berghan, Callum Hunter-Hill, Magnus Bradbury, Charlie Shiel, Jason Baggott, Mark Bennett
TV: eir Sport, DAZN, Premier Sports
Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU)
Assistant referees: Lloyd Linton (SRU), David Sutherland (SRU)
TMO: Neil Patterson (SRU)
The Guinness PRO14 Final is one of the most entertaining games in the rugby calendar and takes place in Glasgow’s Celtic Park on May 25. Tickets start at just £25 for adults, £1 for kids. Visit www.pro14rugby.org/finaltickets
Glasgow Warriors ensured they will have a home Semi-Final in the Guinness PRO14 Final Series after blowing away Edinburgh in the first half to triumph 34-10 at Scotstoun Stadium.
Tries from Sam Johnson and Ali Price, plus ten points from the boot of Adam Hastings, saw Dave Rennie’s side race into a commanding 20-3 lead at the break.
Further tries from Nico Matawalu and Tommy Seymour after the restart then made the result safe for Glasgow as they finished the regular season at the summit of Conference A with 16 wins.
Warriors will now host the winners of the Semi-Final Qualifier between Ulster and Connacht for the chance to reach the Guinness PRO14 Final in their own city.
Edinburgh started the game knowing they would retain possession of the 1872 Cup no matter the result, having beaten Warriors twice already in the Guinness PRO14 this season.
But the stakes were even higher for the meeting at Scotstoun Stadium as Richard Cockerill’s side knew they needed at least two points in their quest for Champions Cup rugby next season.
With Benetton already securing the last Final Series spot in Conference B earlier in the day with a victory over Zebre, the best Edinburgh could do was finish in fourth.
They got off to the worse possible start, though, and found themselves 10-0 down inside eight minutes after Johnson score the game’s opening try for Warriors.
🏟️ HOME SEMI-FINAL HERE WE COME! pic.twitter.com/zVC8Ur4oP6
— Glasgow Warriors (@GlasgowWarriors) April 27, 2019
After Hastings gave his side a 3-0 advantage from the tee, Matawalu beat his tackler before offloading to Johnson, who side-stepped Darcy Graham to go under the sticks.
Former New Zealand U20 captain Simon Hickey got Edinburgh on the scoreboard for the first time, but the visitors suffered another blow when Dougie Fife was sin-binned.
And Glasgow took advantage of the extra man almost immediately after a sensational counter-attacking move ended with Stuart Hogg putting Price through for the try.
Hastings once against converted the extras before adding a penalty from around the 10m line on the half-hour mark to give the Conference A leaders 20-3 ahead at the interval.
Edinburgh made an encouraging start to the second half as they battered away at the Glasgow line after the restart, but they were unable to breakthrough the hosts’ defence.
Warriors then made the result safe just before the hour mark, with Matawalu crossing in the corner after benefitting from a brilliant long looping pass from Hastings to dot down.
Hastings maintained his excellent form from the kicking tee to add the extras, leaving Edinburgh with a mountain to climb to get the two points they need to pip Scarlets to fourth.
And any faint hopes Edinburgh had of getting something from the game were dashed when Hogg latched on to a George Horne kick before feeding Seymour for Glasgow’s fourth try.
Replacement scrum-half Charlie Shiel stormed down the blind-side and stepped Hastings before offloading to Van der Merwe as Edinburgh grabbed a consolation – but it was too little, too late.