Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill has called for the third leg of this season’s 1872 Cup series against Glasgow to be played at Myreside.
Tomorrow evening sees the first inter-city meeting at BT Murrayfield with a return at Scotstoun the following Saturday. The revamped Guinness Pro14 has led to a rejigged fixture list this term and there will be three Scottish derbies during the regular season with a move to a Test-style series instead of the previous aggregate score system to determine the winners of the trophy.
The assumption was that the third match this season, on the last weekend in April, would be back at the national stadium and, if there is the prospect of a big crowd, there may be pressure on the SRU to cash in but Cockerill made clear yesterday that his preference would be packing out the 5,500-capacity Myreside.
“Myreside is our home ground. If we want to build the culture of the club we need our home stadium,” said the coach. “For me, personally, as many big games we play at Myreside and sell the place out the better. But my job is to get the performance right so I’ll leave that to other people.”
Sales of tickets for the game tomorrow hit 20,000 yesterday with hopes that a record crowd can be achieved, beating the 23,500 who attended two years ago.
“They [Glasgow] are very used to Murrayfield,” added the Edinburgh coach. “It has a great surface and a full size pitch and that will suit some teams against us.
“Purely from an Edinburgh point of view, we need to play as many games as possible at our home ground, Myreside, and make that as difficult a place to come as any other home ground.”
Cockerill is hoping that tomorrow’s game shows that the gap has narrowed between Glasgow and Edinburgh, who have won nine of their last ten games. The Warriors are ten from ten in the Guinness Pro14 but have lost all four games in Europe.
“I would like to think so,” he said. “I think the way we’ve played this year, apart from a couple of games, we’ve been very good.
“We’re developing our game; we’re now starting to put the weaker sides around us away relatively comfortably, which is a good sign. But now the test is we’ve played Leinster, Scarlets and Cheetahs away and come second - Glasgow is probably by far the best side we’ve played in the last two months, they’re unbeaten in the league, in Europe we’re not even in the same competition, so it’s the next step for us.
“We’re nowhere near the finished article where we’d like to be. That’s going to take a little bit of time, but we’ve had good improvement. We’ve got a good group of players who are confident in what they’re doing.”