Edinburgh v London Scottish abandoned after 'emergency situation' at DAM Health Stadium

Edinburgh Rugby were forced to evacuate their stadium with six minutes left of the pre-season friendly against London Scottish on Friday evening.

A recorded announcement said “an emergency situation has arisen inside the stadium”. Supporters congregated in the car park at the back of the DAM Health Stadium to await more information before it was eventually confirmed that the match would not resume.

It later emerged that a fire alarm had been set off accidentally. Edinburgh Rugby managing director Douglas Struth said: “A stadium fire alarm was triggered accidentally by a member of the public in the Lothian Stand. Scottish Fire and Rescue Service attended the ground and no fire was identified. We’re pleased to report no one was hurt.

“We would like to thank supporters for their patience and understanding, as well as for the safe and orderly manner in which they left DAM Health Stadium tonight.

Edinburgh were playing London Scottish at the DAM Health Stadium on Friday evening.

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“Our sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused.”

London Scottish were leading 34-26 when the game was halted and the result will stand. Mike Blair, the Edinburgh coach, felt it was the correct call not to restart the match.

“Decisions have to be made with respect to the welfare of the players and how long it is going to get things organised to restart,” said Blair. “Both sides just felt it was the right decision.”

It was a strange end to a testing evening for the home side who conceded six tries against opponents who finished bottom of the pile in last season’s English Championship.

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Edinburgh were second best in an error-strewn first outing of the campaign. With a battalion of Scotland internationals sitting in the stand, Blair picked a squad which leaned heavily on youth and fringe players but there were also comebacks for Jamie Ritchie and Henry Immelman after long injury lay-offs.

Ritchie played the first 30 minutes, his first action since rupturing his hamstring while playing in Scotland’s win over England on February 5.

Immelman looked sharp and scored the game’s first try after five minutes, starting and finishing the move. Charlie Savala converted.

London Scottish’s response was electric: three tries in seven minutes which had Edinburgh rocking on their heels.

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Josh Gillespie streaked down the left wing from halfway to nab the first and the conversion from former Edinburgh man Nathan Chamberlain put Scottish back on level terms.

Two minutes later they scored again, Hayden Hyde bursting through a huge gap in the Edinburgh defence. The home side then found themselves 17-7 down in the 19th-minute when Noah Ferdinand scurried home in the left-hand corner.

Edinburgh’s discomfort was made more acute just after the half hour when scrum-half Luca Petrozzi was played in by Ferdinand for try No 4.

Blair’s response was to withdraw Ritchie, Angus Williams and Chris Dean and replace them with Pierce Phillips, Lee-Roy Atalifo and Cammy Hutchison.

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Edinburgh needed to find a way back and their wingers provided the route map in the final minutes of the half. Firstly, Jack Blain nipped in from close range after a period of concerted pressure and then Jake Henry dived over with seconds left on the clock after a fine break from Savala. The stand-off converted both tries to reduce Scottish’s lead to 24-21 at half-time.

Blain’s second try of the match five minutes into the second half edged Edinburgh ahead but any suggestion that London Scottish might crumble was quickly quashed. Two tries in six minutes put the Exiles back in control.

Full-back Cam Anderson got the first, exploiting another big hole in the home defence, and No 8 Cam King then bulldozed his way over in the corner to put Scottish 34-26 ahead.

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Edinburgh regained a foothold and were pushing hard to reduce the deficit when the game was brought to a premature end.

“It was a little bit frustrating not to get that last six minutes,” added Blair. “They’d kicked the ball out 10 metres from their own line, so it was an opportunity to put the pressure back on them and try to win the game – but we’d seen enough to understand that we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

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