Capital city shoppers swapped bags for balls on Princes Street today as Edinburgh Rugby brought the sport to the high street.
Staged between two giant inflatable rugby posts on the city’s famous thoroughfare, the Edinburgh players added a different kind of fun to the festivities by challenging the retail traffic to a test of skill against some of the country’s top rugby stars – just three days out from the Boxing Day derby between the club and their fiercest rivals, Glasgow Warriors, in the 1872 Cup. The club go into the match having won six from their last seven at Murrayfield, a record which saw them climb to the top spot of Heineken Cup Pool 2 last Friday, when they beat Cardiff Blues 19-12. At the other end of the M8 however, a seven-match unbeaten run from Glasgow Warriors in the RaboDirect PRO12 has kept Sean Lineen’s Glasgow Warriors team at the business end of the championship from the outset. Aside from championship points, the emotional attachment to the derby and individual contests under the spotlight of national selection are deep-seated in the fixture’s history and popularity, with over 9000 tickets snapped up for the Murrayfield match so far. The sides can name 16 Scotland players from the recent Rugby World Cup and, while full-back Chris Paterson called time on his international career earlier this week, he returns to the fold at full-back in a side brimming with young Scottish talent seeking to emulate his success. Edinburgh Rugby back-row, Roddy Grant, said: "It’s fantastic to bring the sport to the street in this way, with so many shoppers taking a break and having a bit of fun. "The Boxing Day derby is going to be a huge match with a big crowd expected to cheer us on against our rivals from the west and, with both teams in such good form, it’s set to be fantastic showcase of Scottish rugby." Councillor Gordon Mackenzie, transport convenor, said: "The City of Edinburgh Council has been working hard with its city partners to ensure Princes Street is as magical and attractive for shoppers and visitors this year as it is every other. "It is particularly exciting to see the players from Edinburgh Rugby take to the streets today alongside some of the other attractions and activities we have invested in to entertain and captivate visitors to Princes Street and the city centre this festive season." Edinburgh Rugby v Glasgow Warriors, Boxing Day (Monday 26 December, kick-off 5.35pm) Get a FREE Boxing Day Derby ticket with every Scotland v France ticket sold before midnight on Christmas eve! Tickets for the derby cost £15 for adults (£20) on the day, £10 for concessions and senior citizens and £5 for U18s. Supporters planning to buy and collect tickets on the day are advised to arrive an hour before kick-off to avoid delays.