Edinburgh Rugby yesterday advanced its bid to build a new stadium on the back pitches at Murrayfield by submitting an application for planning permission to build a 7800-capacity facility.

The project has looked like the most logical – and in many ways only viable – long-term option since the city’s professional team was forced to return to the echoing surrounds of the largely empty national stadium for its home matches after ending an agreement to use George Watson’s College’s Myreside home in mid-season.

As was previously the case with Glasgow Warriors, who played home European matches at Scotstoun in the 1990s, but only finally moved to what was the most obvious place for them to play their home matches six years ago, it is a solution to a major problem that has been staring the sport in the face for many years.

It was noted yesterday that it has become easier to pursue this plan because of the flood prevention work done around the Murrayfield site, while the use of the new national multi-sport facility at nearby Oriam on the Heriot Watt University campus means the Scotland squad has less need to use the back pitches for training.

Either way, any sluggishness cannot be attributed to Jonny Petrie, the former Scotland captain and back-row forward who took over as Edinburgh’s managing director three years ago and, with the club failing in all areas, had to hit the ground running. 

While he initially had to prioritise the playing side, resulting in Richard Cockerill’s appointment as head coach a year ago, Petrie also recognised the need to ensure that the team was playing in an environment that would provide some sort of home advantage, resulting in that Myreside deal. 

While unwilling to confirm or deny whether Edinburgh had been subjected to any fiscal penalties as a result of that agreement ending as it did a few months ago, Petrie claimed that relationship had ended amicably, and while Edinburgh’s players now face another season of playing their matches in those inappropriate surroundings of the national stadium, they at least have the prospect of having something much more suitable in place to look forward to.

“It’s hugely exciting work to take on from a club perspective,” Petrie said.  “We’ve clearly had a fairly nomadic existence over a period of time and the question of where Edinburgh plays its home matches has been on the table for God knows how many years. It’s been great from that respect to do the work with Scottish Rugby to the point where we are able to submit this planning application today. This is the next step in our transformation as a club.”

Ahead of taking up occupancy of a new home, they meanwhile aim to work on their image in bidding to ensure they will play in packed houses if and when they make that move.

“We are taking the opportunity to rebrand the club at the same time,” said Petrie. “We caveat that by saying this is not about changing the name of the club. The name of the club is Edinburgh and it will stay as Edinburgh. It’s important for us to look to remember our history and heritage. We’ve been here for 145 years and it’s important that we recognise that, so we will be going back to the traditional colours of Edinburgh District, playing in a predominantly dark blue colour and we’ll be introducing a new logo from next year as well that is redolent of the original District badge.”

The new one looks vaguely reminiscent of the cardboard crowns used to market a fast-food chain, offering the possibility of them adopting a “Warriors”-style nickname and setting up a sponsorship deal at the same time by perhaps becoming known as the Edinburgh Kings (or should that be EdinBurger Kings?). But in more serious vain Petrie believes it is an important part of supporting the work Cockerill has done to this point.

“It’s a big thing in terms of the culture the head coach is putting in place,” Petrie said. “That’s about the history and it’s important that we stay connected with that as well. It’s the natural evolution of what we’re doing on and off the field.”

This follows on from the SRU’s decision to put half of its Super Six franchises in Edinburgh and none in Glasgow and while Dominic McKay, the SRU’s chief operating officer, claimed they also have ambitions to extend the capacity at Scotstoun to 12,000, he admitted that there is no timescale in place for that and that: “Our focus is on Edinburgh and to make sure we work with our friends at City of Edinburgh Council to get us through planning.”