Edinburgh to make Myreside home

Edinburgh's professional rugby team are to use Myreside as their base for the new season, it was confirmed today.

Chief executive Nick Oswald revealed that a deal has been clinched allowing the super-team use of Watsonians’ ground, starting with a Celtic League match against Munster on Friday, August 17.

Subsequent encounters in two other tournaments - the Welsh/Scottish League and Heineken European Cup - will follow on at the 8000-capacity stadium.

"We are pleased to have had a very good meeting with Watson’s College, who own the ground, where an agreement was reached that will see Edinburgh play out of Myreside for at least ten games in season 2001-02," said Oswald.

Other potential homes assessed included Meadowbank Stadium - as revealed by the Evening News - and, while confirming that the former Commonwealth Games venue had been in the frame, Oswald stressed his delight at gaining Myreside instead.

He said: "It is no secret that we have looked at using Meadowbank, which had its attractions as well as a down side regarding playing rugby there.

"But we feel it is absolutely right to keep fixtures at a rugby ground in order to get the professional team’s identity re-established while playing regularly at home on Friday nights. However, there is a problem, as Myreside will be used for athletics from April onwards which will mean finding an alternative venue.

"But the arrangement we have is the best possible and will eliminate the situation which has arisen in the past with fans wondering where the team were playing."

Last season, playing as Edinburgh Reivers, the super-team led a nomadic home existence embracing Myreside, Galashiels and Jedburgh.

Oswald said: "What will help also is the concentration on Friday evening fixtures.

"While there was a temptation to host Munster on a Saturday given that club leagues don’t start until September 1, it was felt more could be served by maintaining continuity and establishing the fact that Friday night is pro rugby night in Edinburgh. Hopefully, the single base will create a groundswell of support that can carry the Edinburgh team to greater honours this season."

On the player front, Edinburgh today swooped to snap up 23-year-old hooker Carlo di Ciacca as back-up to internationalist Steve Scott. The 6ft and 16st former under-21 cap from West, who joins Peter Robertson as understudy to three-cap Scott, immediately thanked Capital bosses for throwing him a lifeline with his two-year contract.

Di Ciacca said: "A couple of outings for Glasgow Caledonians last season against Pau in the Heineken European Cup gave me a taste for professional rugby I was determined to repeat.

"I know that to reach the top, I need to be seen playing to the best of my ability regularly and Edinburgh’s contract offer was one I readily accepted."

Meanwhile, Edinburgh manager Ian Rankin has expressed disappointment that British and Irish Lions Test centre Rob Henderson will miss the opening of the Celtic League due to a knee injury which rules him out of Munster’s team for Myreside.

"I am always disappointed when the Edinburgh team are denied the chance to test themselves against the very best," said Rankin.