Former Scotland skipper Blair retires

2016-04-21 17:37
Mike Blair (AFP)

London - Former Scotland captain Mike Blair is to join Glasgow's coaching staff after announcing on Thursday that he has decided to retire with immediate effect.

The 35-year-old scrumhalf won 83 caps for Scotland, 14 as captain, before retiring from international rugby in 2013. He toured South Africa with the British and Irish Lions in 2009.

Blair had intended to stand down at the end of the season, but brought the decision forward after a bout of concussion. He will work as an assistant to Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend from next season.

"It was always my intention to move into a coaching role and although there was an opportunity to play on next year, I believe now is the right time for me to make that change," Blair told the Glasgow website.

"I had originally planned to retire at the end of last season, but I'm glad Gregor persuaded me to play on at Glasgow. I've really enjoyed the season and it's a brilliant environment to be part of.

"With only a few games left this season, I have unfortunately run out of time to be able to regain my fitness before the end of this campaign."

Blair spent over a decade with Edinburgh and had spells with French club Brive and Newcastle before returning to Scotland with Glasgow last year, making 12 appearances.

He was nominated for the IRB World Player of the Year award in 2008, losing out to Wales wing Shane Williams.

Townsend said: "Mike's influence off the field has already had an impact at the club, as our three scrumhalves, Ali Price, Grayson Hart and Henry Pyrgos, are all playing well and that is partly down to Mike's coaching and guidance.

"He's helped me with the analysis of opposition and he has some great ideas at improving our attack. He'll get lots of opportunities to develop as a coach here and he's excited about that."

Blair added: "I'm lucky to have had a long career and to have played with some amazing players and made lifelong friends.

"I'll definitely miss the camaraderie on the pitch and in the changing room, but it's time to move on and a new challenge awaits."

Read more on:    scotland  |  rugby

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