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Rugby: Semi-finalists Edinburgh in cash boost

Edinburgh stars, from left, Ross Ford, Greig Laidlaw and Roddy Grant celebrate the win over Toulouse

Edinburgh stars, from left, Ross Ford, Greig Laidlaw and Roddy Grant celebrate the win over Toulouse

  • by BILL LOTHIAN
 

Edinburgh RUGBY are set for a cash bonanza in the wake of Saturday’s 19-14 Heineken European Cup quarter-final win over Toulouse at Murrayfield.

Already guaranteed ¤440,000 (£362,000) for reaching the knock-out stages, that total will now double when the Capital outfit face Ulster in the last four at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, on Saturday, April 28. Shared gate receipts from Saturday’s clash and the forthcoming semi-final would boost Edinburgh coffers further while there is, of course, the prospect of another windfall should Michael Bradley’s team go on to reach the final.

As well as the financial boost, Edinburgh, who beat the French giants in front of a British record crowd for the last-eight stage of the tournament of 37,881, also received glowing praise from Derek McGrath, the former Ireland flanker, who is now chief executive of European Rugby.

McGrath said: “What was really exciting and so satisfying was to see the way in which Edinburgh set out a target and achieved that target, the way they approached the game and the way the crowd got involved.”

It was only the second time Edinburgh had reached the knock-outs and the first occasion they had hosted a tie.

McGrath added: “The scenes at the very end we have seen before but we have never seen them at Murrayfield and never seen them involving a Scottish team.

“That is a step forward for European rugby and not just Scottish rugby. I know this means a lot for Scottish rugby and Edinburgh fans because they now see what success can do as payback for everybody.”

Aside from possible extra spending power which could help bolster the squad for future attempts, the win over the four-times champions could help cement Scottish participation in the tournament ahead of a re-negotiation of entry qualification in 2014. It is thought some English and French clubs are set to query why teams in the RaboDirect PRO12 League gain automatic entry, whereas their involvement is based on domestic league position.

McGrath refused to be drawn on the agreement coming up for renewal, saying: “That is for a later day.” But he admitted: “What we have seen is something special. We (ERC) could not be happier. Toulouse came and gave their best and looked like champions for a lot of the game. But in the end it was a game Edinburgh decided they were going to win.”

Irish Rugby offers an example of how success in Europe has been the catalyst for major developments including new stadiums.

Asked if the so-called “Munster effect” could happen here, McGrath said: “I’ve no doubt things can snowball from here. A lot of the patterns are very similar. We heard Edinburgh talk during the week about the difference the crowd can make and I think the crowd saw the difference they can make.

“A home quarter-final is really important for any team. It brings a fantastic occasion and huge rewards for everyone else. Now that Edinburgh and Scottish rugby have had a taste for that I think they’ll want more.”

 

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