Traditionally the more adventurous of Scotland’s professional teams, Glasgow played with a panache that contrasted with Edinburgh’s more grueling style under Richard Cockerill.
The arrival of Mike Blair to replace Cockerill last summer and the club’s move to an artificial surface at their new stadium helped unleash them.
Carolan is adamant Glasgow won’t compromise on their principles this weekend, but he hinted they might be a bit more selective when it comes to where they attack.
“This year there’s a whole new package of surprises in Edinburgh,” said the coach. “The kind of football they play is pretty exciting and they’ve reaped the rewards of it.
“It’s quite similar to ours, so you have two teams competing in open rugby and ready to try. From a neutral point of view it should be exciting.
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“Picking holes is about which team stays in shape the longest. Edinburgh is quite strong in transition. Teams that passed the ball to them in recent games have pounced on it.
“Last time we played them here we scored a couple of transition attempts, one from a loose kick and one from a rally in our own half. So it’s two teams ready to pounce on mistakes. You have to find the balance between accurately playing an overt brand that embodies your identity and playing in the right areas of the field.
“It’s not necessarily conservative as it’s about trying. But the point is not pressing too hard, not trying to force it when it’s on. But definitely recognize the opportunities and seize them when they arise.”
Glasgow won 30-17 when the sides met at Scotstoun in March and retains that 13-point lead for Cup 1872 purposes. The game will also determine which sides Edinburgh and Glasgow meet in the URC play-offs, but arguably the bigger prize on offer is a spot in next season’s Heineken Champions Cup, which goes to Saturday’s winners regardless of point totals.
“The Champions Cup is the competition we aim for for the profile of the club and for the ambition of the players – that’s where they want to be,” said Carolan.
“The fact that we are in one [URC] Quarter-finals, whether we go to Leinster or South Africa, we have to do our best, no matter who we play. We’ll just have to deal with that when it comes up. Getting Champions Cup Rugby for next season has to be our top priority.”
The match will likely come early for Fraser Brown, but the hooker should return from a shoulder problem before the season is over. There is also a glimmer of hope for Rory Darge, whose knee injury is not as bad as first feared.
“He’s gone for a few more weeks. So there’s a chance he’ll reach the end of the season,” Carolan said.
https://www.scotsman.com/sport/rugby-union/why-edinburgh-rugby-are-now-just-like-glasgow-warriors-3698209 Why Edinburgh Rugby is now just like Glasgow Warriors