Pro14: Edinburgh 23-7 Glasgow - Two intercept scores for Van der Merwe
|Edinburgh (13) 23|
|Tries: Van der Merwe 2 Cons: Van der Walt 2 Pens: Van der Walt 3|
|Glasgow Warriors (7) 7|
|Tries: P Horne Cons: Hastings|
Duhan van der Merwe scored two intercept tries as Edinburgh proved too strong for Pro14 derby rivals Glasgow Warriors at Murrayfield.
The powerful South African wing raced clear to set the tone as Edinburgh dominated much of the first half.
But Peter Horne gathered a chip from younger brother George to reduce the deficit to 13-7 at the interval.
Van der Merwe was then alert to a second loose pass from Adam Hastings to settle a bruising contest.
Edinburgh have now won six of the past eight derby meetings, with the teams meeting again at Scotstoun on 29 December in the second of the best of three 1872 Cup series.
A seventh successive home win of the season moves Richard Cockerill's side up to fourth in Conference B, four points behind Scarlets, while Glasgow's lead at the top of Conference A is cut to six points.
'Edinburgh needed win... and played like it'
Fresh from their exploits in Europe - an unprecedented six wins in a row between them in the Champions Cup so far - this was a return to the Pro14 dogfight and there was pressure on Cockerill's boys coming into this.
Edinburgh's need for points was greater. Glasgow wanted to win, but it could be argued that Edinburgh needed to win - and they played like it.
They dominated possession in the early moments and had an edge and a fury that put them into a 13-point lead just after the first quarter. Jaco van der Walt's penalty got the scoreboard turning and it was quickly followed by Van der Merwe's try, the wing picking off an Hastings pass intended for Nick Grigg before galloping 60m to score.
Hastings' callowness in the heat of battle would be exposed again later.
Van der Walt curled over a peach of a conversion from the touchline and then made it 13-0 with a second penalty.
Glasgow had barely existed as an attacking force to that point but this is a team that had won eight of their 10 Pro14 games and 11 of 14 in all competitions. When they're down, they're still dangerous.
As the opening half went on, they got stronger. They had an attacking five metre lineout, but got done by Ben Toolis. They had an attacking five metre line-out but got done again when Hamish Watson gobbled up the overthrow. They came again a third time and they made it pay. George Horne, off a free ball, dinked one over the top to his brother, Peter, who collected and scored.
Hastings conversion made it a six-point game and when Glasgow started the new half by pounding hard on the Edinburgh line you fancied that the slender advantage was going to be wiped out altogether.
From start to finish the home team's defence wasn't just organised, it was venomous and was key to their victory. Stuart McInally in the front-row, Toolis and Grant Gilchrist in the second-row and Watson behind them were all immense.
The key play in Edinburgh getting out of bother in that passage of play early in the second half was when Hastings, under heaving pressure from Henry Pyrgos, threw a hopeful pass to DTH van der Merwe, a pass that the Canadian couldn't take. Edinburgh lifted the siege at the next scrum - a huge psychological moment.
And there was another soon after. Van der Merwe, who ate up an amount of ground all evening, got away again, chipping and gathering and bringing panic to the Glasgow defence. In their attempt to scramble, Callum Gibbins was done for obstruction and was binned.
That penalty brought another three points for Van der Walt and and while Glasgow were down on numbers they got suckered again and once more it was death wish stuff. Hastings was intercepted for a second time. Groundhog Day for the fly-half. Van der Merwe seized on his telegraphed pass and ran away to score again.
The conversion made it 23-7. It also brought an end to Hastings' sobering experience. Huw Jones came on and Peter Horne went to 10. Niko Matawalu, Glasgow's emergency game-breaker, also appeared. Nothing changed because Edinburgh's power and focus was too much. Glasgow forced the hosts into a huge tackle count - McInally made 20 on his own - but couldn't break them.
In four meetings of Cockerill's Edinburgh and Dave Rennie's Glasgow this was the third victory for Cockerill's team. Bragging rights, for sure, but it was more than that. Edinburgh needed the points - and they deserved them.
Edinburgh: Kinghorn; Graham, Johnstone, Dean, Van der Merwe; Van der Walt, Pyrgos; Schoeman, McInally (capt), Nel, Toolis, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Watson, Mata.
Replacements: Cherry (McInally 65 mins), Dell (Schoeman 58 mins), Ceccarelli (Nel 61 mins) , Hunter-Hill (Toolis 65 mins), Crosbie (Hamilton 54 mins), Fowles (Pyrgos 71 mins), Hickey (Van der Walt 73 mins), Socino (Dean 72 mins).
Glasgow Warriors: Hogg; Seymour, Grigg, P Horne, Van der Merwe; Hastings, G Horne; Kebble, Stewart, Halanukonuka, Harley, Gray, Ashe, Gibbins (capt), M Fagerson.
Replacements: Bryce (Van der Merwe 69 mins), Bhatti (Kebble 65 mins), Rae (Halanukonuka 54 mins), Swinson (Harley 58 mins), Fusaro (Ashe 58 mins), Price (G Horne 63 mins), Jones (Hastings 61 mins), Matawalu (Seymour 61 mins).