Townsend praises players after 1872 Cup win

Date published: December 27 2016

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend expressed his delight at his side’s 25-12 win over Edinburgh in the first leg of the 1872 Cup.

In front of over 21,000 fans at Murrayfield, the Warriors produced a confident attacking display to come put on top on derby day.

“To come here and beat a quality team like Edinburgh is a tough thing to do, and our players really stepped up today,” he told Glasgow Warriors’ official website after the match.

“Edinburgh had a lot of possession in the first-half – I think the penalty count was six-nil against us at one point – and when Alex Allan was sin-binned we knew we would be up against it. That was when we saw the true character of the team. They really took the game to Edinburgh in that period and it was a massive statement, to say ‘let’s be confident and play the rugby we can play’.

“I thought the forwards played really well today – our line-out defence was excellent and the ball carrying from the likes of Brian (Alainu’uese), Josh (Strauss), Jonny (Gray) and the front-row was superb. In the second-half we had more possession, which obviously helped, and we worked very hard to get Alex Dunbar’s try. It was also great defence at the end from Ali (Price), Sean (Lamont) and Alex to stop Edinburgh from scoring.”

With Junior Bulumakau scoring after just 55 seconds, Glasgow enjoyed a near-perfect start to the match. However, Townsend was careful not to overplay the significance of the score.

“Junior is obviously very good at reacting to any mistakes in the defence and it was great that we got that early try. Sometimes, though, scoring early isn’t always a blessing – Racing scored first against us a couple of weeks ago and then didn’t score again for over an hour,” he added.

“It was great to score early, but after that it was all Edinburgh for the next 20 minutes.”

With the game serving as both the first leg of the 1872 Cup and round 11 of the PRO12, the victory was a crucial result in the context of the Warriors’ season.

“We’ve lost our last three games at Murrayfield, so we’re delighted to get the win,” said Townsend.

“It’s different this year, with no double-header. A stand-alone match feels more like a PRO12 encounter, and we know we’ve got this three-week period of trying to put points on the board and keep up with the top of the league. We’ve got another away trip in five days’ time when we travel to Treviso, so we’ll have to mix our team up for that, but the squad did very well today.”

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