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Out of the echo chamber, into the Myre': Edinburgh to move out of Murrayfield next season

Nearby Myreside, property of George Watson’s College, will be expanded to hold 6,000 people from January.

Myreside in 2001, when Munster visited for a Celtic League fixture.
Myreside in 2001, when Munster visited for a Celtic League fixture.
Image: INPHO

EDINBURGH RUGBY HAVE looked to build on some big improvements made in the Pro12 this season by striking a deal to take them out of Murrayfield in 2017.

The home ground of Scotland’s national team has a capacity of over 67,000, but the capital club attracted an average attendance of 5,426 this season. A figure that was greatly skewed by two 1872 clashes against Glasgow Warriors – which attracted 23,000 and then 8,000 to the stadium.

Without the seasonal derby games, the average attendance drops to just 3,347 and Edinburgh players have long struggled to disguise the difficulty they feel in playing a vast empty stadium on a regular basis.

Today, the Pro12 club announced a partnership with George Watson’s College to play their home games at the Myreside ground, a mile and a half from Murrayfield, from January 2017.

A statement from Edinburgh says they have agreed to play at Myreside from January until May next year and adds that their intention is: ”to play the full 2017/18 season at the ground”.

Matt Scott after the game Crowd shots of Murrayfield are tough to come by when the national team isn't playing. Source: Craig Watson/INPHO

The capacity of the Watsonians FC home venue will be increased to 6,000 with the installation of temporary stands similar to those Leinster have erected around the RDS.

Though Edinburgh slipped back to ninth place in the final Pro12 standings, Alan Solomons’ side have impressed through the season and their tally of 11 wins is another sign of improvement when judged against their win totals of six, seven, seven and 10 in the years previous.

The move of venue, where they have played sporadically over the years, also has parallels in the efforts of reigning Pro12 champions Glasgow Warriors to improve their setup from the ground up over the years. Warriors moved out of Partick Thistle’s Firhill Stadium in 2012 to make their home in the 6,600 capacity Scotstoun, and that scaling down and consolidation – together with the genius of Gregor Townsend – helped to pull the club up among the elite in the league.

“This is a hugely positive step for Edinburgh Rugby and we are delighted at the opportunity to play our home matches at Myreside,” says Edinburgh managing director Jonny Petrie.

“This is about building a strong future for the club at a home ground in the city that better suits our needs and improves the matchday experience for fans and players alike.”

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Sean Farrell

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