Rugby: Saturday night opener for Edinburgh

Edinburgh Rugby will 
carry on where they left off in the Rabo Direct Pro 12 league next season with a home fixture on Saturday, September 1.

The requirements of Gaelic broadcaster BBC Alba, with the co-operation of rugby authorities, has decreed that the seasonal pipe-opener against Munster will kick off at 8pm – a situation that will leave organisers hoping that having former European champions in opposition will help alleviate traditional crowd pulling problems with such scheduling.

Despite the fact that a string of players, including Scotland cap record holder Chris Paterson, were making an Edinburgh swansong the attendance for the last match of 2011-12, against Treviso, was, at 2855, the lowest of the year.

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Also worrying is the fact that the two lowest Edinburgh home crowds of last season occurred in the opening two fixtures although Connacht (2364) and Cardiff (2431) arrived when star players were away at the World Cup.

Edinburgh’s previous home Saturday evening fixture, in 2010-11, against Ospreys drew just 1982 – and that had a 6.30pm kick off.

This time round Edinburgh will be optimistic the gate will be boosted by the first competitive outing for a string of summer signings including WP Nel, a South African, and Dimitri Basilaia, a Georgian.

While every other home game will be on a Friday night during the opening half of the season there is no television coverage planned for away games at Dragons and Connacht while the visit to Leinster on Saturday, September 22 (6.30pm) will only be on Irish television.