GLASGOW have been handed a significant advantage going into Saturday’s derby thanks to the decision to play the game at BT Murrayfield, according to Warriors assistant coach Nigel Carolan.
The switch of venue for Edinburgh’s home game is primarily for economic reasons: ticket sales for the URC clash at the national stadium are already three times the capacity of the DAM Health Stadium, the capital club’s new home. But some Edinburgh players have said they would have preferred to stay at the DAM for the game, and Carolan thinks the psychological effect of the switch will play into his own team’s hands.
“Up until the last couple of games the DAM has been a fortress for Edinburgh,” he said yesterday. “Ulster and Wasps snuck wins against them and had to really dig deep for them. Before that they were unbeaten [in competitive matches].
“So the fact it’s at Murrayfield is probably a bit of a leveller. It takes that home advantage and that psychological fortress advantage away. It’s a neutral venue and our international players have experience of playing there.”
The Warriors still have a lengthy injury list going into the last URC match of the regular campaign, with Scott Cummings and Kyle Steyn among those who will not play again this season. But they are now more hopeful that hooker Fraser Brown and flanker Rory Darge will be able to return at some point in the play-offs - although that may depend on the team winning the quarter-final without them first.
“Fraz has a chance of playing again, but I’d say this weekend is too soon,” Carolan added. “Darge’s injury isn’t as serious as we first thought. He did an MCL [medial collateral ligament], which is four to five weeks. He’s still a couple of weeks away. So there’s a chance he could make the back end of the season.”