EDINBURGH Rugby’s chief executive Jonny Petrie has admitted that new head coach Richard Cockerill’s assault on the absence of a club culture within the organisation is what was needed to re-energise a failing set-up.

Former England hooker Cockerill has turned things round significantly on the field of play, but he has also been blunt in his analysis of the off-field issues that have contributed to their inability to maximise home advantage and to engage with their potential support base in what regards itself as a rugby-oriented city.

Petrie has been wrestling with those problems for the past three years and, following last week’s announcement that plans are finally being put in place to give them a home ground they can call their own on Murrayfield’s back pitches, he said that those harsh words had been welcome.

“What Cockers said on the lack of culture and identity was true to a great extent,” he acknowledged.

“He says what he feels is right, he’s had an underperforming team and off the field we’d been chopping and changing. That was always quite difficult.

“I work very closely with Cockers on all these things, on the field and off the field. You’ve got a great foundation in terms of what he’s starting to create there, with a lot of growth still to happen and to see him building that has given me and the rest of the guys off-field something to hook on to.”

The organisation has suffered by comparison with Glasgow Warriors, where ex-Scotland captain Petrie spent his entire professional career. However, he knows that even when, if all goes to plan, they move into their new stadium with its 7800 capacity and 3G pitch in season 2019/20, it will not simply be a case of replicating what their rivals have done. This is because the spectators are very different with a tribal element to the Glasgow support that is keen to get behind a team, whereas in Edinburgh it is much more about the overall experience.

That has led to Warriors supporters teasingly referring to Murrayfield as "the Cathedral" when derby matches are staged there, such is the lack of noise from the home support, but Petrie believes they can avoid being seen as merely downsizing to what could be characterised as a kirk or a chapel at the new smaller Murrayfield venue.

“The audiences in Edinburgh and Glasgow I don’t doubt are quite different,” he accepted. “I know from having played in Glasgow for a long time that they’re a pretty noisy bunch. It’s a great place to play at and it’s a great place to go along and support.

“The Edinburgh crowd, they really need something to get behind. Cockers has created that with what he’s done on the field and now we need to further encourage that by putting on a brilliant match-day experience and giving them something to shout about.

“If you give them something to shout about, they’ll soon get noisy and I’m looking forward to seeing that come to life. In terms of looking at opportunities to create a new brand and move ourselves forward, we’ve never really been in a position to do that. Now you’ve got a foundation."