Scottish rugby side Edinburgh Rugby are about to get a huge cash boost after exceeding all expectations and reaching the semi finals of the Heineken Cup, the top tier competition in European rugby and the equivalent to football’s UEFA Champions League by defeating the French power house Toulouse 19-14 at home in the Murray Field Park in the quarter finals.
The club is guaranteed to pocket a cool £ 362,000 that they are due for reaching the knock out stages of the Heineken Cup which, potentially will double when they face Ulster in the semi finals of the competition at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
Shared gate receipts and the prize money for reaching the semi finals of the Heineken Cup will translate to filling up of the coffers of the club and with the prospect of Michael Bradley’s side reaching the final of the biggest club competition in Europe, there is every chance that their earnings will break the £ 1 million barrier.
Not only the financial boost, Edinburgh Rugby which defeated the French giants in front of a capacity crowd of 37,881 at the Murray Field Park was singled out for praise by Derek McGrath, the former winger for the Ireland nation team who is currently serving as the Chief Executive Officer of European Rugby.
This comes as great news for Scottish club rugby as a whole which has not had many representatives in the semi final stages of Europe’s elite club competition in spite of the success of the national team.
However, this success of Edinburgh Rugby might just make the other clubs in the Celtic League feel that they could also replicate the efforts of Edinburgh which will only come as good news to the fans of club rugby in Scotland as well as for European rugby.
Last Thursday saw the Scottish review of the Six Nations campaign. Andy Robinson has overseen the worst season in recent history for Scottish Rugby.
Their dismal Six Nations performance and resulting wooden spoon followed on from the worst World Cup performance Scotland have ever had with a failure to get out of their group for the first time ever.
Having spoken to Robinson, SRU chief Mark Dodson confirmed that the Englishman would stay in his post. There was no real opposition to this decision within Murrayfield due in no small part to the lucrative deal in place to keep Robinson in his job until after the 2015 World Cup. The mess Scotland have got themselves into with large portions of Robinson’s staff also tied down to long contracts and two new faces arriving in the next month make Robinson almost unsackable.
Prior to Dodson’s arrival at the SRU it was Gordon McKie who gave Robinson the contract extension that has tied the two together for the foreseeable future. At the time Robinson and Scotland were seemingly making progress, so much so that there was seemingly a real threat that an English Premiership side may be interested in prising the Englishman away from Murrayfield.
At the time the long contract seemed to be the best option on the table but it has seemingly bound the two together regardless of how dark days seem for Scotland. By the time it becomes financially viable to sack Robinson it will be too close to 2015 to do so. And so it seems that the set up will be in place for another three and a half years.
At a time when England are again improving, Wales are looking a good rugby bet for any tournament they enter, Italy are continuing to improve, France are looking better than they have in a long time and Ireland are rebuilding for 2015 it seems Scotland run the risk of being left behind all of their Six Nations rivals.