Edinburgh and Glasgow give everything in final home matches | Celtic Challenge Play-offs Round 1 Review

Edinburgh and Glasgow give everything in final home matches | Celtic Challenge Play-offs Round 1 Review

Round 1 of the 2024 Celtic Challenge Play-offs saw both teams compete on home turf for the final time in this year’s tournament. Glasgow Warriors narrowly missed out on success in front of a home crowd whilst Edinburgh Rugby finished with a draw after their visitors secured a dramatic last-minute try.

Glasgow Warriors 17-24 Brython Thunder

A strong performance was ultimately not enough for Glasgow Warriors in their final home match of the 2023/24 Celtic Challenge, as Chris Laidlaw’s squad were edged out 24-17 at the hands of Brython Thunder at Scotstoun.

Tries from Claudia McLaren and Roma Fraser – her third in two matches – were to prove in vain, but the Warrior Nation rose to applaud their team in record numbers on the full-time whistle after watching them give everything on the pitch.

Reflecting on the match, Head coach Chris Laidlaw said: “I’m immensely proud of the group but I’m just so gutted for them. Not only the 15, the 23 – but everyone that’s been part of the programme from this point, the amount of effort and application they’ve put in to get better individually and collectively.

“It’s just frustrating and disappointing to not yet have the rewards on the scoreboard but I’m immensely proud of everyone.

“We’ve had some girls in the programme who have had a huge amount of growth from the start of the programme to where we are now.

“The big thing is that hopefully when they leave the programme, they go back to their own environments, and they lift the standard of training in the environments that they’re in. And when this competition comes around again in the future, we’ll be in an even better place to kick on.”

Glasgow Warriors will finish their 2023/24 Celtic Challenge campaign when they travel to face Gwalia Lightning at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday 24 February.


Edinburgh Rugby 26-26 Irish Wolfhounds

Edinburgh drew their final home match of the Celtic Challenge, with the Irish Wolfhounds scoring a dramatic last minute try to tie the game 26-26.

Having made the play-offs in their inaugural season, Edinburgh needed a bonus point win against the league leading Wolfhounds to put themselves in control of the title chase, however a draw means they need to rely on other results to go their way.

Head coach Claire Cruickshank shared her thoughts after the match: “We are frustrated, we should have wrapped up that game, but we didn’t manage the last 10 minutes well and were punished, poor game management probably cost us the win in the end.

“There was probably a little bit of naivety about what it takes at this level to close off games. With the calibre of the opposition you’re playing, they’re smart, so you’ve got to be smarter than them – and I didn’t think we were smart in that last 15 to 20 minutes.

“We did well to get ourselves back in it and the first 20 minutes after half-time was brilliant, but after that I thought we were a bit naive.

“A neutral might think a draw was good against an opponent like that, but from our perspective we put ourselves in a position to win it and I think we should have been able to ride that game out and win it. We are disappointed.”

Scotland Women Head Coach Bryan Easson has called upon five of Edinburgh Rugby’s players that were named as part of the Celtic Challenge squad for the upcoming Guinness Women’s Six Nations. Forwards Merryn Gunderson and Alex Stewart will join the Scotland squad alongside backs Cieron Bell, Nicole Flynn and Emma Orr as they begin training for the 2024 campaign.

Edinburgh Rugby will travel to Parc Y Scarlets to face Clovers on Sunday 3 March in their final play-off of the 2023/24 campaign.

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