‘Watershed moment’ - Mike Blair enthused as Edinburgh Rugby play first game at new home as he gives update on injured players

Mike Blair described it as “a watershed moment” as Edinburgh finally took up residency in their new permanent home.

The club’s nomadic existence in the pro era has seen them as tenants at Easter Road, Meadowbank and Myreside before a long unsatisfactory stint on the international pitch at Murrayfield.

Plans for the £5.7 million Edinburgh Rugby Stadium were first announced three years, three months and 11 days ago and they became a reality on Saturday as 6,512 supporters watched the home side take on Newcastle Falcons on the new ground’s artificial pitch.

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The visitors won 26-10, but the significance of the occasion was more important than the result.

More than 6,500 fans turned up for the first match at Edinburgh Rugby Stadium. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS

“We celebrate something much bigger than 80 minutes,” Blair wrote in his programme notes. “It’s a piece of rugby history and watershed moment that our supporters, players, and anyone connected to the club, has waited on for a very long time.”

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The new coach, taking charge of his first match, was pleased with the application against opponents who kick off the new Premiership season next week.

“You go into a game with a plan of what you’re trying to get out, and I think we got that,” said Blair. “But at the same time we’re disappointed because we didn’t get the win.

New Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS

“Newcastle are probably a week ahead of us in terms of their preparation – they played last week and their league starts next weekend. They had a really strong team out there for the first 50 minutes.

“We had a lot of young guys out there in the second half, guys playing their first game. I’m really pleased with the effort and the enthusiasm.”

Blair was heartened by the big turnout and is enthused about the club’s future at the ground.

“It was brilliant walking out and seeing it pretty much full and when we gave the crowd something to cheer about they certainly got behind us,” he said.

The new 7,800-capacity Edinburgh Rugby Stadium has been built on the back pitches at Murrayfield. Picture: Bruce White/SNS

“The pitch is fantastic and leans towards that quicker game. We’ll have plenty of learning to do from a wind point of view because I don’t think it was a particularly windy day but it had a big effect on how the game was being played.”

Edinburgh lost Jaco van der Walt and Jamie Hodgson to first-half knocks but Blair is confident neither injury is serious.

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