Edinburgh Rugby and Scottish Rugby are delighted to announce the completion of the club’s new, purpose-built stadium.
The £5.7 million ground is adjacent to BT Murrayfield and will hold around 7,800 supporters (around 5,800 seated and around 2,000 safe-standing), close to the action and under covered stands on all four sides.
The stadium is now officially in the hands of the capital club and is the team’s first permanent home since its inception as a professional side in 1996 and as an amateur district select dating back to 1872.
The completion of the project includes World Rugby certification for contact training and playing on the new state-of-the-art 3G surface, meaning the Edinburgh Rugby squad can now begin training in the ground.
Under normal circumstances, the club would now be formulating plans to welcome fans for a celebratory opening event or fixture.
However current restrictions to combat the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic mean that the stadium will be used primarily for team training purposes in the short-term until fans can be welcomed safely.
In the meantime, the club will begin a multi-staged branding process to adorn the stadium in the club’s colours, while plans are already underway to map out the supporter fan-zone and surrounding activity that will complement a first-class match-day experience in and around the ground.
Edinburgh Rugby Managing Director, Douglas Struth, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to reach the point of project completion and are delighted with the finished product. The stadium looks and feels fantastic.
“We have worked exceptionally hard over a number of years to deepen our identity and association with the city of Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and the Borders. Now, with a home to call our own, we have a huge opportunity to really develop and showcase what it means to represent all of those communities in professional rugby.
“Our new stadium will allow us to better connect with our fans, community, sponsors and partners; creating a deeper sense of belonging as we strive to attract more people to the club, whilst enhancing the match-day experience for our fans inside and outside the ground.
“I have always said that this is a game-changing project for us, and Edinburgh Rugby has always been a club of huge potential. Our new stadium will now go a long way to helping us realise that potential.
“The hard work really kicks on from here. The new stadium is fantastic, but it is nothing without our fans here to fill it.
“That is a magnificent target to focus the mind and we can all really look forward to that moment.”
He added: “I would like to sincerely thank Scottish Rugby for their support and backing to make our new stadium a reality, as well as the project team at Edinburgh Rugby and our various external contractors and professional advisers for the huge amount of work that has taken us to this point.
“This project has been complex and has faced many unforeseen challenges since it was first announced in May 2018.
“Since we first broke ground on the build-phase back in October 2019, completing the new stadium in the circumstances of this past year has been no small undertaking. It is a credit to a lot of people involved that we have achieved this.
“I’m sure we’ll come to view this as a landmark occasion in the history of our club.”
Edinburgh Rugby has enjoyed a resurgent spell under Head Coach Richard Cockerill, who took the reins in 2017 and led the side to the 2019 Heineken Cup Champions Cup quarter-final and 2020 Guinness PRO14 semi-final and Challenge Cup quarter-final.
The club built a formidable home record in that time at BT Murrayfield Stadium, winning 73% (33/45) of matches in all competitions from the 2017/18 season to date (rising to 84% of the 37 home matches before the pandemic put an end to crowds).
Several leading players have already signed and re-signed with the aim of continuing that upward trajectory, with the new ground repeatedly cited as focal point for the player group, condensing the club’s crowds into a more intimate and intense environment.
Edinburgh Rugby Head Coach, Richard Cockerill said: “As a club, as players, staff and fans we now have a home that, together, we can really build something special around. All of us are now in the privileged position to establish what this ground is going to mean to us and the outside world.
“I want it to be a welcoming place for fans but a cauldron for visiting teams, and our supporters will very much be a part of that. It’s down to them to fill this place out with their family and friends and give the players the lift they need when the chips are down.”
“One of the many things Coronavirus has underscored to us all in sport is the hugely important role fans play in the home team’s performance.
“This was always a widely held view but now the difference is statistically proven by the change in away results in the absence of crowds in a number of sports. Having capacity crowds so close to the pitch and players will allow our supporters to play an even greater part in giving us that all important home advantage.
“We’ve done well to retain some of our best players and managed to bring in some quality too, so there should be lots to shout about from the stands when it’s safe again to do so.
“Getting back into the stadium together will be big, uniting moment for everyone, for a lot of reasons, and will hopefully help us continue us improve as a club, on and off the pitch.”
Scottish Rugby CEO, Mark Dodson, said: “The completed construction of the new stadium is a game-changing project for both Edinburgh Rugby and Scottish Rugby.
“To finally deliver Edinburgh Rugby and its supporters a purpose-built stadium, at the home of Scottish rugby, is a fantastic achievement for all involved in the project, after a nomadic existence that’s spanned both the amateur and professional era for the side.
“Not only will the stadium provide the Edinburgh Rugby fans with a genuine home and a match-day atmosphere that will reflect their continued enthusiasm and support for the club, the ground will act as a hub for all rugby in the city. It will have a lasting legacy for the local community.”
Scottish Rugby Chief Operating Officer, Dominic McKay, said: “We are incredibly excited to unveil Edinburgh Rugby’s new home.
“After many years of exhausting stadium and playing ground options for the club in the local area, we made this significant investment to develop a venue to help the team grow and provide a great spectator experience.
“We are fortunate to have space within the BT Murrayfield campus to comfortably accommodate the new stadium and retain practice pitches for all elements of rugby.
“We believe we have delivered a stadium that will help Edinburgh Rugby realise its potential.“Thanks to the team at Edinburgh Rugby and our external project team for working so hard during the Covid period to finish this impressive build.”
Edinburgh Rugby reiterated that the new stadium will be open to applications for use from other rugby teams, sports and events, a well as from the wider community, to maximise the potential of the new ground.
Edinburgh Rugby would like to thank the Edinburgh City Council Planning and Building Control departments and the local residents for their patience throughout the build.
Source & Image: www.edinburghrugby.org