Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Scott pays tribute to Blair

Mike Blair retired from international rugby after amassing 85 caps for Scotland

Edinburgh centre Matt Scott insists retired Scotland scrum-half Mike Blair will go down as one of the nation's greatest rugby players.

Record-breaking number nine Blair retired from the international game on Monday after amassing 85 caps for his country. The 31-year-old made his decision following his summer switch from Edinburgh to Brive, claiming the stress that would come from travelling from France to play in the forthcoming RBS 6 Nations would be too much for his young family.

Former Murrayfield team-mate Scott is confident that Blair's legacy is already set in stone, and he told Press Association Sport: "Mike will go down as one of Scotland's all-time greats. He has 85 caps - more than any other Scotland scrum-half - and captained his country too."

He added: "He was also nominated for the World Player of the Year a few years back and I don't think any other Scotsman can say they've done the same, so there's no doubt that he will probably be remembered as the best scrum-half we've ever had.

"It's a shame he has decided to step down from the international game but travelling from France to play in the Six Nations is a big ask for him and his family and I can understand his reasons.

"I text him to say all the best because he's a guy I admire and a really nice person too. However, there's no doubt he'll be a big loss to Scotland."

Blair's departure from the capital has coincided with a massive downturn in Edinburgh's fortunes.

Michael Bradley's side stormed to the semi-finals of last season's Heineken Cup before losing to Ulster but this term has been a complete nightmare.

They sit bottom of Group 1 without a single point and lost their first two games against Saracens and Munster by a combined score of 78-0.

Things have hardly improved since then and they are currently enduring a five-game losing streak - which included the morale-crushing double defeat to rivals Glasgow over the festive period.

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