Houston happy to see fans pitchside at Murrayfield

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Edinburgh centre John Houston is hoping new crowd arrangements will inspire the Capital outfit in their RaboDirect Pro 12 opener against Cardiff Blues at Murrayfield tomorrow night (kick off 7.30pm).

The 28-year-old impressed in last week’s friendly win over Newcastle Falcons, and he admits that the decision to use the East Stand and allow spectators to stand on the pitch perimeter added to the occasion. Now, he is hoping the improved atmosphere will help launch the league campaign in style.

“It has made a difference and it’s brought the buzz back to Murrayfield,” he said. “It’s good having the fans close and the players have been speaking about it.”

The decision to move the public nearer to the action is only one of the developments made over the summer, as he acknowledged, adding: “A lot has changed – we have a new coach and a new defence coach. We had a look at ourselves and asked what we are all about.”

Of the new personnel at the helm, he said: “Michael Bradley has his own approach and wants us to be more physical, so that’s what we’ve been working on pre-season.

“And our defence coach Billy McGinty is doing things that are different to what we were doing under Nick Scrivener.”