Edinburgh Rugby's new compact stadium has atmosphere 'similar to Hearts at Tynecastle' as neighbours hit their stride
They’ve long been near neighbours and now Edinburgh Rugby are starting to generate a bit of Tynecastle-style atmosphere at their compact new stadium, according to assistant coach Steve Lawrie.
Over 6,000 were at the Challenge Cup match against Brive on Friday night, the highest attendance the club have had for a competitive fixture since they moved into the ground.
There were more at the game than had attended Hibs’ Scottish Cup tie against Cove Rangers the previous evening and the heartening aspect for Lawrie was the noise being generated inside the DAM Health Stadium.
When Edinburgh played at the cavernous 67,000-capacity Murrayfield it was nicknamed “the Library” by rivals because it was so quiet, but the capital fans have found their voice as they respond positively to what is being served up on the pitch.
“I played for Edinburgh and we were crying out for a home for long enough,” said Lawrie. “A permanent home, and one that doesn't have a track round it and where spectators were set far back or where you had 5-10,000 fans in a 60,000-seat stadium.
“I used to have a season ticket at Tynecastle, which I think is one of the best stadiums in football because you’re so close to the action. The DAM is exactly the same. You’re right on top of the action so I think it works really well.
“Credit to the fans. There was probably a thought that they would just sit on their hands and not cheer for the team, but they have come out and they have been magic.
“I remember being a player and thinking we needed more football fans, maybe a drum or something. So I think they’ve done a really good job of cheering the team on and the atmosphere has been brilliant.”
Edinburgh scored ten tries on Friday in a 66-3 win and it’s fair to say that fans got value for money. But Lawrie knows that Mike Blair’s side need to maintain the high standards if they are to continue to grow their support.
Entertainment has been a central tenet of the club’s philosophy since Blair took over and fans have warmed to the pace and skill shown by the likes of Darcy Graham, Mark Bennett, Ben Vellacott, Blair Kinghorn and Argentine wingers Ramiro Moyano and Emiliano Boffelli.
“When Hearts are going well then Tynecastle is sold out,” added Lawrie. “When things are not going well there are a few more empty seats. I think it is really important that the onus is not on the fans and that we need to put on a show that people want to come and watch. That’s our part in it.”
Six wins from eight games have propelled Edinburgh to the top of the United Rugby Championship and there will inevitably be interest in their players. Magnus Bradbury is the latest to be linked with a move but Lawrie was giving little away about the forward’s future.
“Maggie has been playing really well and we recognise that he will get attention from other clubs because of how he is playing,” said Lawrie. “But I’m not at liberty to talk about players’ contractual situations. We understand that he is playing well and we can see why there is interest from elsewhere.”