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Reports & Features

BLAIR PITCH PROJECT

Edinburgh: ( ) Newcastle Falcons: ( )



This moment has been a long time coming. One of so many frustrations of the last 18 months has been seeing Minified (or the Edinburgh Rugby Stadium, to give it its official name) gradually emerging on the back pitches, yet it has been tantalisingly out of reach.  A state of the art playing surface and a set of four surprisingly comfy stands have been waiting patiently for Covid lockdown measures to ease enough to permit the congregation in one place of 7,800 rabid Embra ultras. 

We are now at 'Beyond Level 0'.  I am not sure what that actually means, but I cannot adequately convey the joy I felt as we took our seats in the Main stand this afternoon, with the massed ranks of Jed-forest fans in the Riverside stand to our right, looking across to the hard core Embra tifosi in the Bill Lothian stand across the immaculate playing surface.  We have all really missed live rugby.

The new start also extended to the coaching team, where Richard Cockerill and Duncan Hodge's departure has opened up an opportunity for Edinburgh, Scotland and Lions legend Mike 'Blade' Blair to come home. Together with the backroom staff who remain, Cockers and Hodgey left a club that is in a better place than when they arrived, with a strong squad.  Yet they probably had taken the club as far as they could.  We look to Mike to build on the solid foundations with a more ambitious attack and the development of more youngsters.  It's good to have the old boy back.  As Super 6 has begun its first real season without too much disruption, with various Embramen seeing service in that competition, it feels like things are moving in the right direction.

In the first hit out in the Scottish Building Society pre-season series, against visiting Newcastle Falcons, Blade's charges ...

 

The Embramen have got off to a flyer on the pitch and off it.

THE FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT WITH THE EDINBURGH YOUNG TEAM

Scarlets: 28 (14) Edinburgh: 28 (7)

We have all been through the ringer over the last 18 months.  Lost loved ones, lost jobs, lost freedoms that we have all taken for granted as we deal with a pandemic, something that few of us have ever experienced before.  Even for those who feel that they've coped pretty well, all things considered, there can be moments when it can all seem too much. 

So I was so pleased to receive this week Edinburgh Rugby's e-mail to supporters advertising the sale of season tickets for next season, which begins this Monday morning for some.  It is a sign that the return of some sort of normal life is not far away.  More than that, as the Embra tifosi contemplate their seating preferences for the bear pit that will be the Gunners' new stadium on the BT Murrayfield back pitches, Minifield, it is a sign that maybe the new normal will be better than the old.  

The visitors fielded an experimental side at Parc y Scarlets in their last match of this unique

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GLASGOW PREVAIL AGAIN IN THE LATEST INTER-CITY

Edinburgh:24 (17) Glasgow Warriors: 31 (24)

I don't know about you, but I so want to be back watching rugby live.  The thrill of being deafened by Bruce Aitchison on the PA, to feel the collisions on the park and to marvel at WP winning yet another scrum pen.  Hopefully the Covid restrictions will continue to be relaxed and I'll see you in person in Minifield next season.

 

I recently subscribed to a streaming service that shows Sky Sports coverage live in order to watch the Lions in South Afgrica this season.  Somehow, this seems much more of a priority than it has been in recent Lions tours. They certainly show a fair bit of live sport and this morning I found myself watching the Sydney Roosters playing against the excitingly named North Queensland Cowboys in the Australian NRL.  As ever with rugby league, I was struck by the quality of execution of the basic skills. It was also notable that the match was played in front of a very large crowd; substantially higher than the sparse attendance

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