Blair takes the positives from homecoming defeat
Head Coach Mike Blair says 'there were enough positives to keep a smile on his face' as Edinburgh Rugby fell short against Newcastle Falcons in Saturday afternoon's Scottish Building Society Pre-Season Series at the ERS.
On a historic afternoon that saw the capital club play the first-ever game in its new 7,800 capacity home, a young Edinburgh side found it difficult to break down a strong Falcons defence, with the visitors eventually grinding out a 10-26 win thanks to two length-of-the-field intercepted tries.
“You go into a game with a plan of what you’re trying to get out, and I think we got that. But at the same time we’re disappointed because we didn’t get the win," said Blair.
"Newcastle are probably a week ahead of us in terms of their preparation - they played last week and their league starts next weekend. They had a really strong team out there for the first 50 minutes.
“We had a lot of young guys out there in the second half, guys playing their first game. I’m really pleased with the effort and the enthusiasm. There were enough positives there to keep a smile on the face.
“There were little things in the game that can go a little bit better, but I’m pleased we’ve got that attitude of trying to find solutions to issues that aren’t just standard solutions.”
In a stop, start opening 40 minutes, Blair was forced to make two early changes as stand-off Jaco van der Walt and lock Jamie Hodgson both picked up injuries.
The Head Coach did confirm that both injuries weren't serious however and the players were taken off as a precaution.
“I think with Jaco, it was around the jaw and his head, but he was fine after the game in good fettle in the changing room.
"He hadn’t cleared things with his wife that he was OK. I said to him, ‘did you phone her to say you’re ok?’. I think she was a bit worried, as we all were with the way he went down.
“With Jamie, he had a knock as well. It was precautionary with him. With the injuries we’ve got already he’s someone we need to look after. Hopefully he’ll be ok for next week.”
Despite the result, Blair was delighted that his side gave the crowd 'something to cheer about' on the day and praised the performances of several top capital perfomers.
“It was brilliant walking out and seeing it pretty much full and when we gave the crowd something to cheer about they certainly got behind us. It’s a good situation for us when we’re saying we’ve got to give these something to shout about. There were glimpses of that but maybe not quite the consistency.
“The pitch is fantastic and leans towards that quicker game. We’ll have plenty of learning to do from a wind point of view because I don’t think it was a particularly windy day but it had a big effect on how the game was being played.
“Henry [Immelman] was excellent. He’s been impressive all of pre-season. We’ve got five or six guys coming back next week as well and that’ll allow them to put their marker down as well.
“Some good performances there. I thought Mark Bennett was excellent as well, I thought Damien Hoyland was excellent, so lots of good stuff.”