Edinburgh Rugby could play their final match at Myreside as early as tomorrow evening as they prepare for a flit to the back pitches at BT Murrayfield next season.
As revealed by The Scotsman yesterday, the capital side are looking to construct a new home in the shadow of the national stadium.
Edinburgh will quit their current home of Myreside and tomorrow’s Guinness Pro14 match against Leinster could be their last at the home of Watsonians.
Richard Cockerill’s team are considering playing the remainder of their matches this season on the main pitch at Murrayfield before switching to the back pitches.
The existing temporary stands would be relocated from Myreside to Murrayfield and, if the move proves successful, Edinburgh will consider a permanent home on the back pitches.
The Scottish Rugby Union will conduct a feasibility study into the project but their days at Myreside are numbered.
“It is normal practice at this time in the season for Edinburgh Rugby to be reviewing all its options both on and off the pitch,” said a spokesman for the club.
The official Edinburgh Rugby Supporters’ Club has labelled plans for a new stadium next to Murrayfield as “long overdue”, saying they have been petitioning the SRU for this very move for the past 16 years.
The club would create a temporary stadium, by shifting two temporary stands from Myreside and adding extra seating, with a view to making it permanent if it proves a success. That would allow Edinburgh to play home games there as early as the start of next season.
The move will come as a boost to Edinburgh Rugby fans, who have long wanted to find a suitable permanent home.
Peter Taylor, chairman of Edinburgh Rugby Supporters’ Club, said: “It’s long overdue and indeed the supporters’ club made serious representations to the SRU about 16 years ago to build on the back pitches at Murrayfield. We have raised this idea with the club many a time. It just seems the logical idea. All the facilities would be available in the new stadium or Murrayfield would be sat next door – things that Myreside cannot replicate. Never having a permanent home has always been a regret.”
It is understood proposals for the stadium are at an early stage and no application for planning has yet been made.
John Yellowlees, chairman of Murrayfield Community Council, said: “The SRU has reassured us that, as and when Edinburgh Rugby are in a definitive position to bring any plans forward, engagement with local community will be among their top priorities.”
Flooding of Murrayfield in 2003 and a subsequent public inquiry, together with a property crash, shelved previous redevelopment plans for
However, flood prevention work has now been completed and crucial improvement in transport links has made the site a more attractive proposition.
It is hoped a new stadium would provide a boost in home attendances and a strong base for the team. The club attracts crowds of less than 4,000 people at Myreside Stadium, also home to Watsonians RFC.
Edinburgh Rugby last summer extended their agreement with George Watson’s College in a three-year deal to play their home games at Myreside, minus a few select fixtures, but both parties are understood to be willing to terminate that contract.