Edinburgh Rugby: Winning not style key for more support - Phil Burleigh

Edinburgh's Phil Burleigh takes a break during their Pro12 win over Scarlets
Burleigh says Edinburgh made the right calls in wet conditions to beat Scarlets

Edinburgh centre Phil Burleigh says the best way they can build a successful club is by winning games rather than worrying about their style of play.

The capital side recovered from a disappointing opening Pro12 loss at Cardiff Blues by grinding out a 20-9 win over Scarlets in wet conditions.

But only 2,650 fans were in attendance at Murrayfield to witness it.

"You get crowds by winning games, that is the thing, and that is worldwide," Burleigh told BBC Scotland.

"It doesn't matter how you play. If you are winning games, you will get crowds.

"We want to build a brand here, for sure, and the players are doing a pretty good job of doing that outside of the ground. But we need to do it on the footy field as well - and that is by winning games of rugby."

Media playback is not supported on this device

Pro12 highlights: Edinburgh 20-9 Scarlets

Edinburgh's average attendance for the nine Pro12 games they played at Murrayfield last season, excluding the 23,642 for the post-Christmas derby clash with Glasgow, was 3,795.

Some critics have bemoaned a stodgy, one-dimensional approach as a reason for the relative lack of wider support, criticism head coach Alan Solomons has called "manifestly unfair".

"We don't really listen to it to be honest," said New Zealander Burleigh, who moved to Edinburgh two years ago after spells with the Chiefs and Highlanders in Super Rugby.

"It is not something we take notice of as players. If we are winning games, that is the end of the story.

"If we win all our games in that style [the win over Scarlets], I bet we'd have a full stadium at the end of the year watching a Grand Final, with us in it.

"I know it may look that way in the last couple of weeks but it doesn't frustrate us at all."

What's it like playing in front of a few thousand in a 67,500-capacity stadium?
"You don't notice it to be honest. You are so focused on the game. It would be brilliant if you had a full stadium [at Murrayfield]. That is not going to happen, we know that."But you take your mind away from it and you get on with your job. We have still got our good local supporters here. The same crew come along every week so we respect that."

Burleigh, who has switched to his old position of inside centre with the arrival of fly-half Duncan Weir from Glasgow, says weather conditions dictated Edinburgh's game plan in their opening two Pro12 matches.

He believes fans will see a more expansive style given a dry evening, starting with Friday's visit of Irish province Leinster, and maintains progress is being made despite last season's ninth place following eighth-place finishes the two previous years.

"I think it has definitely come along in the last three years," the 29-year-old added.

"We have built strongly as a squad, and I would like to think that this year we will definitely better ourselves again.

"When we make the move to Myreside [in early January], that is going to be big for us. I hope we end up getting a few more people to the ground - that would be brilliant.

"Hopefully we will have a few more wins under our belt by then, and we will get a full stadium. You never know."

Top Stories