Rugby

Scotland's Mike Blair retires

2013-01-07 15:20
Mike Blair (AFP)
Edinburgh - Scotland's most-capped scrumhalf Mike Blair has announced his retirement from international rugby at the age of 31.

Blair was capped 85 times for his country and was captain of the side on 14 occasions.

His decision came six weeks after the resignation of Scotland coach Andy Robinson, who quit after the defeat by Tonga in Aberdeen.

Australian coach Scott Johnson has been put in charge of Scotland for the upcoming Six Nations tournament.

In a statement released on Monday by the Scottish Rugby Union, Blair said: "I'm in the very fortunate position of being able to decide myself when my international career ends. For me, that time is now."

Blair explained that his decision was partly based on his family circumstances and also to give the Scotland team the chance to plan ahead for the next World Cup in England in 2015.

The former British and Irish Lions player, who left Edinburgh for French side Brive in pre-season, said: "There's no doubt that moving our family to France has played a part in my decision.

"Our son Rory is now at school here and we have an 11-week-old daughter, Lucy, who was born in Brive.

"However, it's a combination of reasons that's led to my standing down from international rugby, not just one factor.

"For me a place in the squad at the Rugby World Cup in 2015 is not a realistic personal target and, with that in mind, it's right for Scottish rugby and the Scotland team, that other players gain experience in a pivotal position."

Blair was a regular starter for Scotland last year and captained the team for the final time in June in the victory over Samoa.

He added: "The fact that I still feel attuned to playing at international level has made the decision harder but it's not been reached lightly and I'm very confident that it's the right decision."

Blair, who made a try-scoring debut for Scotland against Canada in 2002, said it would be a wrench to quit Test rugby.

"I have enjoyed immensely representing my country for more than 10 years and will miss that exhilarating feeling of running out to a capacity crowd with the whole country behind you.

"The noise when leading the team out for the first time as captain at Murrayfield against England in 2008, when we won 15-9, still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up when I think about it."

Interim head coach Johnson paid tribute to Blair by saying: "I really enjoyed working with Mike during the summer (June) tour and the more recent (November) autumn Tests.

"There's no doubt he's a quality international rugby player and a quality bloke. I respect and understand his decision to retire from the international game now and, on behalf of all Scotland fans, thank him for his years of dedication to the national team."

For much of his career, Blair found himself competing for the Scotland No 9 shirt with Chris Cusiter and, latterly, Rory Lawson.

Cusiter has been sidelined with a shoulder injury since September with a shoulder injury but his Glasgow team-mate Henry Pyrgos made a try-scoring debut in the 51-22 home defeat by New Zealand in November after replacing Blair.
 

Read more on:    mike blair  |  rugby
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

Watch: Insane road bike skills!

This will have you sitting on the edge of your chair.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

The most extreme journey ever?
Red Bull Lionheart trail run - not for the fainthearted!
Adventure holidays for your bucket list
Top 10 water sports to try before you die
 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
Vote

Western Province and the Golden Lions will do battle at Newlands on Saturday, October 25 for the 2014 Absa Currie Cup title. Who will lift the trophy after 80 minutes?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.