Mike Blair announces immediate retirement from rugby

Former Scotland scrum-half Mike Blair has announced his retirement from rugby.

Glasgow Warriors player Mike Blair will take up a coaching role at the club. Picture: SNS
Glasgow Warriors player Mike Blair will take up a coaching role at the club. Picture: SNS

The 35-year-old, who won 85 caps for his country, will take up an assistant coaching role at Glasgow Warriors, where he is currently contracted, for the start of the 2016/17 season.

Blair said: “I think it’ll take six months to a year for it to settle in, but you find other motivations or challenges in life.

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“One of mine will be through my new role as assistant coach with Glasgow Warriors and trying to improve those players. I’ll get my enjoyment from watching them on the pitch.

“I’ve had some magnificent players around me, I’ve loved my time representing Scotland, and it’s been a massive honour to play for all the teams over the years.”

Blair, born in Edinburgh, played for Edinburgh Accies and Boroughmuir before joining Edinburgh Rugby in 2002. He spent ten years at the Murrayfield club before leaving to join Brive in France and then Newcastle Falcons. He returned to Scotland last year to join Glasgow Warriors.

Blair retires as Scotland’s most capped No.9 and reflected on his international career that included Calcutta Cup wins and appearing in three World Cups. He also captained the Scots 14 times.

“I’ve got a lot of memories that will live with me for the rest of my life,” he said. “Beating England here a couple of times [2006 and 2008], beating France and also Australia away from home, and playing in a European Cup semi-final with Edinburgh. There are plenty of memories.

“I can still hear the noise of the crowd in my head now. In 2006 they switched off all the floodlights and there was a lone piper on the roof blasting out Highland Cathedral.

“Scotland-England in 2008 also stands out for me.

“We had struggled in the Championship, and it was the first game I was captain at BT Murrayfield. There was a lot of pressure on me, and on a team that hadn’t been too successful.

“I watched the last five minutes of the game from the changing room and I remember that, when we won, rather than having that incredible joy of winning the game, I just burst into tears because of the massive relief that came from getting a result that took the pressure off a bit.”