Finally my hands have thawed enough to type up my account of Friday night rugby at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield stadium. Despite the sub-zero temperatures, a first half without any points and a late try which condemned the home side to defeat I thoroughly enjoyed watching Edinburgh versus Munster in the Magners League on Friday night.
We bought our tickets online, at Â£15 per person, and they were delivered to my home the day after purchase. For Edinburgh Rugby home matches only the lower West stand, excluding the corners, is open on matchdays. I found the attendance on Friday night a little disappointing at just over 4000 people, which included many Irish students cheering on Munster. Seeing Murrayfield so empty is odd, if not a little eerie. Looking at this another way Murrayfield was filled to only 6% of it’s capacity, therefore it’s inevitable the atmosphere is somewhat lacking.
Edinburgh Rugby have taken steps to try and improve the atmosphere, but they’re always battling against over 90% of the seats in Murrayfield being empty. These steps include renaming Murrayfield “The Castle” on match-days, although unless you’d read the Edinburgh Rugby website you’d have struggled to notice this name change on Friday. A drummer and piper stand pitchside during the match and every time Edinburgh attack they burst into tune. And a kettle drum plays over the PA system to try and spurt the crowd into life. It must be difficult for the players to get motivated and worked up, so it’s a shame that the attendance isn’t much higher or that Edinburgh Rugby don’t play their matches at a more intimate stadium.
Anyhow alcohol, which you can take on the terraces, is on sale from a portable unit outside the West stand. Draught Heineken was Â£3 and Magners Â£3.50; all were served in plastic glasses. Unfortunately a number of the female staff serving here were pretty ignorant to say the least and clearly none too happy in their work. Also they weren’t the best at pouring a pint from draught. Even for me two pints of Heineken was enough: it really was too cold to hold a chilled beer in your hand. Hotdogs, burgers, chips, etc. are all available from other mobile vans.
If you’re after a full match report I’d recommend the Scotsman write-up. However it wasn’t a classic rugby match by any means, but Edinburgh should have been comfortably ahead at half-time had it not been for some poor penalty misses by Edinburgh fly-half Phil Godman. Infact had Edinburgh’s promising attacks been executed a little more incisively they could have scored a couple of tries in the first-half.
After the scoreless first-half we saw a couple of tries in the second, with Munster’s reply in the 67th minute enough to give them victory. I found the standard of refereeing, by Tim Hayes, pretty poor. He never got to grips with Munster’s negative play and his performance was full of contradictions (the irony of the officials wearing Specsavers tops was not lost). It was also a fairly stop-start match with the trainers frequently running onto the pitch. Anyhow it ended Edinburgh 7 Munster 11, which given Edinburgh’s great run of recent form was disappointing - especially as Edinburgh Rugby would have gone second in the Magners league had they won.
As said before I still thoroughly enjoyed a Friday night at the rugby and a few drinks afterwards in the Murrayfield Hotel bar, which was absolutely rammed with folks in need of warmth and shelter after the match.
It’s somewhat of a shame Friday night rugby and Edinburgh Rugby’s home matches aren’t advertised a little better; I mentioned the match to a few friends and they were unaware of it. It would be great to get the attendances up further and encourage more Edinburgh residents to take an interest in supporting their local rugby team.
Upcoming fixtures for Edinburgh Rugby at Murrayfield are:
- Friday 21st March, 19:30: Edinburgh versus Connacht Rugby (Magners League)
- Friday 28th March, 19:30: Edinburgh versus Cardiff Blues (Magners League)
- Friday 18th April,19:30: Edinburgh versus Leinster (Magners League)
See you there!