Edinburgh: SRU to consider new 6,000-seat stadium at Murrayfield

Edinburgh's Darryl Marfo trains at Murrayfield
Edinburgh use the back pitches at Murrayfield for training

The Scottish Rugby Union will explore moving Edinburgh to a new 6,000-seat stadium on Murrayfield's back pitches.

The governing body is to conduct a feasibility study which could, if things are accelerated, see Richard Cockerill's team play their home games on the new site next season.

Contrary to reports, the project will not cost anywhere close to £10m.

Temporary stands would be relocated from Myreside to Murrayfield, while extra stands would raise the capacity.

Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill
Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill felt a move to Myreside would improve the atmosphere at games

"It is normal practice at this time in the season for Edinburgh Rugby to be reviewing all its options both on and off the pitch," said for a spokesman for the club.

"There are, though, no plans for a permanent stadium development within the grounds of Murrayfield and media speculation on this today is wide of the mark."

In the summer, after a six-game trial last season, Edinburgh committed to a three-year deal with George Watson's College to play games at Myreside, with Cockerill stating that the intimacy of the ground would add to the match-day atmosphere compared to the relative silence of their previous home at 67,500-capacity Murrayfield.

That deal is believed to have an opt-out clause. If approved, the financial outlay of moving venue would be little more than the union are already paying in rent for Myreside. The SRU board have, however, not yet discussed the idea and planning permission has not yet been sought.

Approval for the plan is far from guaranteed, but a new layout on the back pitches is, at present, the favoured option as the home for Edinburgh Rugby.

Edinburgh managing director Jonny Petrie, left, and SRU chairman Andy Irvine at Myreside
Edinburgh managing director Jonny Petrie (left) and chairman Andy Irvine at Myreside ahead of Edinburgh's move to the ground

This is the latest development in what has been a long-running saga of finding a suitable home for Edinburgh Rugby. When the move was made from Murrayfield to Myreside, it was deemed as a bright new dawn for the club.

Jonny Petrie, the managing director, described it at the time as a "hugely positive step" and that Myreside was "about building a strong future for the club at a home ground in the city that better suits our needs and improves the match-day experience for fans and players alike".

Some Edinburgh games have been moved back to Murrayfield this season to capitalise on bigger crowds wanting to watch the team. That has been a commercial success, but it has done nothing to establish a culture at Myreside or to develop it as the home of the club.

Within the SRU there is the hope that Edinburgh Rugby will continue to improve and attendances will rise under Cockerill's coaching. Myreside might be too small in that eventuality. An affordable option on the back pitches, which allows Edinburgh to use the main stadium for hospitality, has now become a topic of conversation.

A source told BBC Scotland: "This is early-doors planning - a testing of the water to see if a set-up on the back pitches might work as a home for Edinburgh Rugby."