Press Pass with Mike Blair

Press Pass with Mike Blair

Get the latest from Head Coach Mike Blair as he spoke with press in the build up to Friday's United Rugby Championship Round 13 clash with Connacht at DAM Health Stadium.

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On Connacht

“It has been a tough period for the club because we’ve had three away games on the trot against good quality opposition and with guys out for us.

“There’s a lot of different thigs to look at with this role at Edinburgh – we only have two professional teams, part of it is helping to develop guys, but we want to have this mindset about wanting to play for the jersey and I believe we’ve got real buy-in on that as well.

“They have been difficult games but that is a great indicator of where these fringe players and young guys coming through are, and where they can get to as well.”

On Mark Bennett's return to Scotland duty

“I’m pretty sure I was at Glasgow when he had his last year and around that time he had an injury then a couple of guys came in in front of him and did pretty well.

“It is difficult when you find yourself in a situation like that and then there are no injuries to offer you an opportunity, so the season passes you by pretty quickly. It is difficult to get your confidence back and show what you can do.

“Coming to Edinburgh in 2017 was an opportunity to reinvigorate himself and get back into things, but that didn’t happen for a number of reasons. He had a couple of injuries and sometimes with these situation it does take a little bit of time to get your body back in the groove.

“I think he also felt that he wasn’t getting those opportunities to show within games to show his strengths, and hopefully we are now providing him the platform to do that, and he’s taken it from there.”

On players taking opportunities

“Part of our job as a club is to help provide players to the national team and give them opportunities to show what they can do. That also gives us the opportunity to look at other player who may not have been involved. This has been a brilliant period for guys like Connor Boyle and Ben Muncaster in the back-row, who have not had much game time previously this season, to get back-to-back games in so that we can see where they at.”

On Blair Kinghorn's performance vs France

“I was really pleased that Blair got some rugby at the end of the game. We’ve been delighted with how he's played for Edinburgh. He’s not worn the 10 jersey for us a huge amount over the last two to three seasons where he’s been used more in the wing/full-back role.

“But we’ve got massive hopes and expectations for Blair. I believe that if he gets a run of games he’s going to start putting real pressure with the national team in and around that 10 position. That’s how highly we rate him.

“I think it’s difficult when you can’t get rhythm into your game week in, week out and it’s a difficult position to be in with Finn as the No 1 at the moment.

“He coming back with us then going back to Scotland and it is difficult and we appreciate that. But we also want Blair to make the most of the opportunities he gets. There are some good bits around his game but I believe that the more he gets in that 10 jersey, the better his rhythm is going to be and the better he’s going to be as a result of it.”

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