Richard Cockerill wants new Edinburgh Rugby stadium to intimidate opponents
Work has been completed on the new £5.7 million ground which has been built adjacent to their current home at BT Murrayfield. The 7,800-capacity structure has four covered stands and includes room for 2,000 safe-standing fans.
Cockerill, the Edinburgh coach, admits they will have to adapt their style of rugby to suit the new artificial pitch but is delighted the club finally have a home to call their own.
In their 25 years as a professional outfit, the peripatetic team have played at Easter Road, Meadowbank, Myreside, Meggetland and Inverleith, as well as the main stadium at Murrayfield.
“It’s the first time as a club we’ve had our own stadium which is branded in our own colours, so we’re delighted to have it,” said Cockerill.
“It is good for identity and culture. We’ve got a pretty good home record at Murrayfield and now we can build on that. It is great to have a place at last which we can make our own and make it a place which is difficult for other teams to come and play.
“It is a really good size – 7,800 seats – so we’ll be looking to sell it out and have an atmosphere which is a bit more intimidating than probably historically Edinburgh crowds have been.
“So, we’ve got to put a product on the field that is a winning one and one that people want to come and watch.”
Cockerill envisages Edinburgh playing a faster brand of rugby when they move into the new ground, probably at the start of next season.
“I think it’ll make our game quicker. Even training on it this week, the GPS data shows we’re covering more metres and we’re running quicker for longer.”
Cockerill admitted he hasn’t always been a fan of plastic pitches but has been won round.
“I’ve lived in Scotland long enough to know that if you have a grass pitch it’s going to be muddy most of the time,” he said.
“Is it perfect? Probably not, but maintenance-wise, being able to use it to train on through the week and then play on it and have a guaranteed good surface all year round, it’s probably a necessity in this country.”
He is also pleased that there is a provision for standing.
“We’ve got good stands but also good terracing at either end of the pitch and it suits all different demographics,” he added. “If you’re a young student and want to come and have a beer on a Friday or Saturday night and stand with your mates, you can. And if you’re old like me you can sit in a nice comfy seat in the grandstand. So there’s something for everyone.”
Edinburgh will only move into the new ground when fans are allowed back.
Meanwhile, Scotland players Dave Cherry, Grant Gilchrist and Jaco van der Walt have been released back to the club to play against Munster on Saturday.
Winger Darcy Graham was also released but will miss the Pro14 game with a thigh injury, although he should be fit for Scotland’s match against France on February 28.
Blair Kinghorn remains sidelined with a wrist injury.
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