Edinburgh Rugby takeaways: Plastic can be fantastic, encouraging start by new boys and plenty of appetite to watch rugby in the right surroundings

It wasn’t the result he wanted but there were plenty positives for new Edinburgh coach Mike Blair to take from the 26-10 defeat by Newcastle Falcons in the capital club’s first match in their new stadium.

Damien Hoyland impressed on Edinburgh's new fast, new artificial pitch. Picture: Bruce White/SNS

Fast pitch can be a game changer

The benefits of the new stadium should be two-fold for Edinburgh this season. The ground’s compact design will help generate a far better atmosphere than the cavernous Murrayfield, and the switch to an artificial pitch should offer Mike Blair’s side a significant advantage. The fast track is tailor-made for the club’s speed merchants and Damien Hoyland looked very much at home against Newcastle. With Blair Kinghorn, Darcy Graham and Freddie Owsley kept in reserve, Edinburgh have plenty of back three options with pace to burn. The trick now is to win enough ball and create the space for them to exploit.

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New boys look the part

New signing Henry Immelman looked lively on his Edinburgh debut. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS

Henry Immelman says he is comfortable playing across the backline and the former Montpellier man made an impressive debut at full-back against Newcastle. Blair has been impressed by him in pre-season and it’s easy to see why. The South African is a lively runner and linked well with Hoyland in particular. Ben Vellacott, perhaps Edinburgh’s most eye-catching summer signing, also fared well on his first outing since joining from Wasps. With Henry Pyrgos and Charlie Shiel also given a run-out, Edinburgh are well stocked with scrum-halves. Luan de Bruin, the third starting debutant, showed he wasn’t afraid to take a step forward, squaring up to virtually the whole Newcastle pack during one memorable first-half flashpoint.

Appetite is there to watch Edinburgh Rugby

To attract over 6,500 fans for a pre-season friendly is good going. Certainly the novelty of the new stadium swelled the crowd - Edinburgh finally have a home that suits their needs. It’s a shame it took them so long. The trick now will be to keep them coming back. With Hearts and Hibs both inactive on Saturday there may have been a few supporters of those clubs lured along by what was an historic sporting occasion for the city. Chances to watch a match in the sunshine with a pint in hand don’t come around too often in Edinburgh.

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