'We back him to the hilt': Edinburgh players are right behind Mike Blair, says Jamie Ritchie
The capital club went down 32-25 at BT Murrayfield on Friday night to relinquish their grip on the trophy on the back of a 16-10 reversal the previous week at Scotstoun. With just one win in the past six matches, Blair admitted in the wake of the latest defeat that he is being “challenged” by the team’s dip in fortunes, but Ritchie has vowed to support his boss through his first veritable sticky spell since taking the Edinburgh reins 18 months ago.
"It is a tough time but games against Glasgow are always a bit more emotionally fuelled,” said Ritchie. “It is quite raw at the moment so I can understand why he said that he did, but we back Mike to the hilt and we will support him as well as we can just as he supports us. The dialogue between us and him is great. It is not anything to do with him, it is about our application. That's something we need to get right on the field.
“I think we also have to capitalise on our good performances. Part of that is that we are probably letting our foot off the pedal a bit or not putting teams away or allowing sides back into it. If you look at the last few games – against Saracens we played really well and then kind of let them back into it, give them opportunities to get ahead and a good team like that will stay ahead. Castres was probably similar as there were peaks and troughs, they came back into it and it was probably closer than it should have been. For us, it is just about trying to work out how we can get that 80-minute performance and put teams to bed.”
Asked if morale in the Edinburgh camp is low, Ritchie responded: “No-one likes losing. I wouldn't say it's affected our training or the environment at all. Guys are desperate to win and it's frustrating when you don't. But in terms of how we are as a collective, training is competitive, we work hard and that won't change.”