Yesterday I went to the rugby at Murrayfield to see Scotland play France in their first game of this year’s RBS Six Nations. I headed along early to soak up all the pre-match atmosphere and started to walk to the stadium from the West End.
There were French supporters everywhere, determined to confuse the Scottish as they were wearing kilts and other pieces of Scottish attire, but were singing for France.
There were souvenir stalls dotted along the street to Murrayfield selling a wide range of French and Scottish merchandise (at inflated prices). From Haymarket, there were people holding signs by one of the sponsors, Famous Grouse, stating that everyone was walking the right way to the stadium and as we walked closer, how many minutes’ walk were left. Although it would be quite hard to get lost on the way to Murrayfield with the 60,000 people heading there, it as a reassuring extra for the visitors.
Every pub was bursting at its seams, with some of the hotels on the main road providing tented beer gardens. I had to laugh at the queues out of every chip shop en route as the French eagerly purchased their fish and chips and munched the food on the street. Not quite to the standard of French cuisine, but when in Rome……. There were groups of people having a pre match drink in available car parks, sections of the pavement etc. Armed with a carry out, it was the visitors who made me realise they can do it so much better than us. A group of men, complete with a rug, cheese and nibbles alongside twenty bottles of wine as opposed to some lager!
There was a carnival atmosphere at the ground thanks to the Famous Grouse tent which was blasting out Scottish music and offering everyone who entered a free dram. This party continued once we were through the gates as the beer tents were busy and everyone was getting in the mood.
The facilities just outside the actual ground are good with plenty of food choices, bars, merchandise tents and clear sign posts. Alcohol is also available inside the ground as well as soft drinks.
Before the match kicked off, rugby clips were played on the giant screens, pipe bands played familiar Scottish tunes and both the teams warmed up on the pitch. At this stage, there were high hopes of a Scottish win 😉
I was pleased to see that the minute’s silence in rememberance of the legend Bill McLaren was observed by both sets of fans. He will be fondly remembered.
I had a crazy Frenchman seated behind me who murdered his national anthem whilst waving a flag. What surprised me was that once the music to Flower of Scotland started, he produced a piece of paper with the lyrics on it and proceeded to murder ours aswell!
The game kicked off, with Scotland taking the lead after a couple of good attacks. The electric atmosphere continued and the French went wild when they got their first try, taking the lead. France continued on the score sheet and the end result was Scotland 9 – France 18.
Rugby is more expensive to attend than football, but it a wonderful family friendly day out. Fans are seated together and there’s plenty of friendly banter to be had in the stands. If you can get your hands on a ticket for the remaining England game at Murrayfield for this year’s cup, then I would grab them and not let go.
Plan ahead for next year’s competition where we will host Ireland, Wales and Italy. The Welsh are the best visiting fans by far as they seem to invade Edinburgh a week beforehand and turn the town into a procession of red.
Suitable for disabled ? Yes, Murrayfield is completely accessible with specific sections available for wheelchairs. Please book ahead with the SRU.