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Edinburgh look to emulate European form on the domestic front

Guinness PRO12 Editor

15 Feb 2012

Ross Rennie got the ball going for Edinburgh with their first try

Edinburgh’s free-flowing style this season has seen them earn a first-ever European Cup home quarter-final as well as helping nine players receive international recognition already in the Six Nations.

For Edinburgh CEO Craig Docherty, this success has made life a lot easier, with a record 13,246 crowd turning out for the RaboDirect PRO12 Boxing Day derby clash with Glasgow Warriors.

But while the Gunners are flourishing on the European stage, their domestic form has not quite matched up, the club currently find themselves ninth in the RaboDirect PRO12.

And Docherty admits that there is still a way to go before the club will be able to compete on both fronts.

“There’s no doubt the home quarter-final is a huge boost for the club, especially as we will be taking on Toulouse, a side who we don’t play very often,” he said.

“The crowds this year have not been bad, and the derby game had a record attendance for the league.

“It was the same for Glasgow when we went to their place with a huge [8,852] crowd at Firhill.

“We work hard at it, so it’s great to get the big crowds in, and with eight Edinburgh players starting for Scotland, and Mike Blair on the bench as well, we’re seeing that Michael Bradley is doing a great job.

“The club has always been associated with expansive rugby, but I don’t think that is what is making the difference.

“Winning games is the key, and the success we have had in Europe is really helping.

“Munster have shown in the past that it doesn’t matter if you are winning ugly provided you are winning. I would much rather we won ugly than lose playing expansive rugby.

“But Michael Bradley has looked at the players we have and it’s clear they are well-suited to trying to move the ball around.

“We don’t have a huge pack of forwards, but we have people who can play at pace which is how we saw games like the crazy match at home to Racing-Metro [48-47], and even coming back to beat them away in Paris.

“Unfortunately the RaboDirect PRO12 hasn’t gone quite so well for us this season, but it’s very difficult to compete on both fronts.

“Glasgow have been very successful domestically whereas we have been better in Europe. I’m sure neither team would want to exchange the position they are in.

“As it stands it’s just the Irish teams who seem able to fight on both on fronts but it’s something we have to aim for in the future.”

This season has also been marked by a change to the setup at Murrayfield for RaboDirect PRO12 games with the standing areas introduced in the west stand.

Docherty insists this has made a huge difference to the atmosphere in the Scottish capital however he refused to rule out a move if a smaller stadium were to become available in the future.

He added: “The changes we have brought in this season have had a good effect, and the players have really appreciated it.

“They tell me that they can really hear the support of the crowd up close now which is exactly what we were after.

“Of course it’s a strange situation with such a large stadium and if there were a smaller ground available in the capital we would certainly look at it.

“The problem is at the moment there is nothing suitable, and if we are to move, we want to make the right move.

“There is no point moving if it is to somewhere which isn’t right for us. We are always looking at options but at the moment there are no plans in place to move away from Murrayfield.”