Mike Blair: Edinburgh should not be finishing in lower reaches of URC with this squad

Outgoing head coach Mike Blair has admitted that a squad with Edinburgh’s talent should not be finishing in the lower reaches of the URC.
Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair looked after his last match of the club on Friday.Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair looked after his last match of the club on Friday.
Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair looked after his last match of the club on Friday.

His term in charge came to a disappointing end in Belfast when they went down 28-14 to Ulster, ending their URC campaign with just six wins and a dozen losses to show for their effort.

“With the quality of the squad we have got we shouldn’t be at that end of the table,” said Blair. “We had a particularly rough period around Christmas, a really difficult fixture list, similar to Ulster around that period. I think we had the same amount of wins, I think we both had four wins out of ten playing in the Champions Cup and the URC and we struggled to turn that around and regain momentum, whereas Ulster managed to do that.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We have used 51 players this season and it is difficult to build cohesion. But, at the same time, Glasgow have been able to do that, they have built momentum I believe they have done that through those victories in the Challenge Cup and that’s bound them together. They are playing with a lot of confidence now, they are changing around their selections, giving guys opportunities because everyone is confident and they are winning as well. Whereas, we had a tougher period over that time and it is harder to bring guys in and change your squad around and build cohesion within the squad.”

His men had plenty of opportunity to challenge an Ulster side battling for second place but tries at either end of the game from Darcy Graham and WP Nel were never going to be enough to score a first away win in the competition since October.

“The effort was definitely there, the clinical nature of our game probably wasn’t,” continued Blair. “We created some overlaps on the edge but we didn’t finish them. “But there’s lots of stuff we could package up and say these bits are really good but unfortunately there are also bits you can package up and say what happened in there, why did we get that call wrong, why did we try make that pass? So a little bit of our season in microcosm there where we do some good stuff but also where we do some stuff that allows the opposition into the game.”