Mike Blair to become Scotland's skills coach

The final major cog in Gregor Townsend's Scotland back-room set-up emerged yesterday with the news that Mike Blair will join his team as skills coach.

Mike Blair will combine his duties at Glasgow Warriors with his new role as Scotland skills coach. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS/SRU

The country’s most-capped scrum-half has been working in a similar role under Townsend at Glasgow Warriors for the past two seasons and will now move across to work with the national squad along with forwards chief Dan McFarland and defence coach Matt Taylor.

Blair, 36, moved into coaching full-time last summer after initially joining Glasgow as a player/coach in
2015-16. Highly regarded as one of the country’s most promising young coaches and viewed as a potential future Scotland boss, Blair’s role with the national team will focus on assisting the attack, improving skills and working closely with the scrum-halves.

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Blair will continue to work with Glasgow outside Test windows in a similar arrangement to that undertaken by Taylor over the past few years.

On a day of major coaching announcements by the SRU, the news about Blair was followed later in the day by a raft of developments regarding the new Richard Cockerill regime at Edinburgh and the Scotland Sevens squad.

As expected, current caretaker Duncan Hodge will return to the role of attack coach he held with both Scotland and Edinburgh under Alan Solomons.

Current Scotland Sevens coach Calum MacRae will take over from Peter Wilkins as defence coach, with John Dalziel replacing MacRae. Dalziel, who has been working as forwards coach at London Scottish this season, will return to his role as Scotland Under-20 chief for the summer’s Junior World Cup in Georgia before taking on the Sevens post.

In a new role, Matt Cornwell, who worked with Cockerill as team manager at Leicester Tigers, will join Edinburgh as head of rugby operations.

The current Scotland Sevens strength and conditioning coach Nick Lumley will also join Edinburgh, replacing Ashley Jones.

As well as Hodge, Wilkins and forwards coach Stevie Scott signed new two-year deals at the start of the season. There was no mention of Scott in yesterday evening’s release from the SRU, with clarification of his future at Edinburgh, or otherwise, expected next week. Blair, meanwhile, is looking forward to working