George Watson’s College has formed a partnership with Edinburgh Rugby to enable the professional rugby side to play fixtures on our Grandstand pitch next season.
Edinburgh Rugby will play six home games at Myreside between January and May 2017 to test the feasibility. Assuming this goes well, most of Edinburgh's home games will be played at Myreside from the 2017-18 season onwards. Both management teams have already begun to address the inevitable logistical issues that will need to be overcome in order for this partnership to be successful.The only games that would not be played at Myreside would be high attendance matches where BT Murrayfield would continue to be a more appropriate setting.
We have previously hosted Edinburgh Rugby matches, most recently during the 2016 RBS 6 Nations when a home fixture against Ospreys was played here.
This development sits well with plans the School has to develop the campus. Melvyn Roffe, Principal of George Watson’s College said: “We are excited about the potential for this partnership to build on our rugby heritage and achievements and to enable the School to have a positive impact in the wider Edinburgh community. The School’s plans for the campus will shortly be finalised and the partnership with Edinburgh Rugby will help us to achieve our aspirations.”
Jonny Petrie, Managing Director of Edinburgh Rugby said: “This is a hugely positive step for Edinburgh Rugby and we are delighted at the opportunity to play our home matches at Myreside. This is about building a strong future for the club at a home ground in the city that better suits our needs and improves the matchday experience for fans and players alike.
“I’d like to thank George Watson’s College for proposing the idea and for their support in working with us to develop the concept into a credible plan. We will now be liaising closely with all relevant parties to ensure a smooth transition over the coming months.”
The School, Edinburgh Rugby and the Watsonian Football Club stand to gain hugely from the partnership that is being formed. Edinburgh Rugby will gain an appropriately sized home ground which is steeped in rugby heritage and the opportunities to further develop its community and youth work alongside Watson's and other partners. Watsonians will benefit from the profile and other opportunities that sharing facilities with a Pro-12 team will bring. The School will also benefit from the status of being the only school in the UK to be hosting a professional team and will gain an important partner as it develops plans to further improve sporting and other facilities on site.
Alan Campbell, Director of PE and Sport at George Watson’s College said: “Clearly our pupils will benefit from upgraded facilities and wider opportunities, as working with Edinburgh will allow us to enhance our sporting programme. However in addition, our hope is that the facilities in and around Myreside will increasingly become a hub for a wide range of sports, enabling us to increase our involvement in the community.”
Watsonians Football Club President, Keith Watters said: “Watsonian Football Club are delighted to be working alongside George Watson’s College and Edinburgh Rugby to bring professional rugby to Myreside once again. The club has always had good links with Edinburgh and the likes of Stuart McInally and Neil Cochrane, who are current members of Alan Solomons’ squad, previously played for us. We look forward to hosting a number of Edinburgh matches at Myreside next season and can assure supporters from all over the capital and beyond a warm welcome at our ground.”