Jamie Ritchie admits that he was initially ambivalent about Edinburgh’s switch of home venue from the main bowl at Murrayfield to a custom-built, 7,800-capacity venue on the back pitches on the international campus.

However, having now played two matches at the DAM Health Stadium (as it is now called due to a naming rights deal) he is in no doubt that the move can give the capital outfit a real edge this season.

“I was… not sceptical, that’s probably the wrong word… but I wasn’t sure how much different it would feel for me,” said the flanker. “I’m a bit funny because I try not to notice the crowd but, genuinely, being in there made such a difference. I was pleasantly surprised.

“I played one pre-season game and thoroughly enjoyed that and then it was raised again for the first league game of the season against Scarlets. It was awesome. It definitely does feel like home now.

“They [the crowd] are a bit closer than they were back in the big stadium, and the more noise they can make for us, it makes such a difference,” he added. “At the end of that Scarlets game, we were under a bit of pressure and the crowd really drove us through.

“The one thing about playing at the main stadium at Murrayfield was that it was probably quite a nice place to come as the away team – quite a nice experience. Whereas coming out to our new stadium, there’s a bit of a longer walk from the changing rooms, and you have to go through the crowd, which is probably to our advantage.”

After that rousing win over the Scarlets in round one of the United Rugby Championship, the capital outfit suffered a frustrating away loss to Benetton last weekend, so are targeting another big performance to get their season back on track when they host the DHL Stormers this coming Saturday evening.

“We’re all looking forward to getting back home,” said Ritchie. “Obviously, it was a rough one at the weekend. I think we had loads of opportunities to win it but the mistakes at the end cost us pretty dearly.

“We knew going into that game that there is still a lot of stuff we need to work on, so we’ve looked at the positive stuff we did and also tried to learn from the bits which weren’t so good. There were parts of that game we could have managed better, stuff like executing our skills in the big moments, which could have ended up with us winning the game. So, there are bits to improve going forward.”

The Stormers are still winless in the competition, having lost their opening game of the campaign 22-18 away to Benetton, before going down 34-18 at Munster last weekend. In fact, the Emirates Lions’ 26-38 opening day victory over perennial strugglers Zebre is the only win by any of the four new South African teams in the league this season from eight outings so far – but Ritchie says he and his team-mates aren’t reading too much into that dismal record.

“It’s a tough league,” he reasoned. “You go to any team in this league and it’s hard. None of them have played at home yet, it’s all a bit new and they’re probably taking a bit of time to get used to it. I’ve no doubt that they’ll come into their own.

“We’ve had a look at the Stormers, and we expect them to be quite direct,” he continued. “They’ve got a dangerous back three, so we need to be aware of that, but we’re at home and we’re looking to implement our game on them.

“They’ve never come here before so we’re the ones who have the advantage in terms of that and we’re looking forward to bouncing back after a tough one at the weekend.”

As well as the home crowd, another factor in Edinburgh’s favour this weekend should be the artificial playing surface at their new home.

“It takes a bit of getting used to but because we train on it a lot, we are getting there,” said Ritchie. “It’s quick which suits the way we want to play. It’ll be interesting to see it when it’s wet and how different it will be because it obviously won’t be muddy and that could work out quite well. But it’s a good surface and it’s consistent which is good for us because we know exactly what to expect.”