Blair gets the nod to lead Edinburgh into new era
New Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair (pic: SNS Group).
Former Scotland captain Mike Blair has been named as the new head coach of Edinburgh Rugby.
Blair succeeds Richard Cockerill following the Englishman’s surprise exit earlier this week.
He made over 150 appearances for the club (2001-2012) and returns from a five-year term with the national team, where he was recruited by head coach Gregor Townsend to occupy a dual role with Glasgow Warriors in 2017.
He said: “The first emotion is one of pride. I’ve lived in Edinburgh most of my life, played 11 seasons at the club and still live in the city, so having that attachment combine with the opportunity to lead the squad is really special for me.
“I’ve learned a lot from working with quality coaches like Dave Rennie, Jason O’Halloran and Gregor Townsend, in particular and over the years, and have been able to develop and adapt a philosophy that I feel should benefit the talent we have at the club.
“It’s a really exciting squad. There’s a good balance of experience and backgrounds and I’m looking forward to getting to know the players and their strengths better so we can mould that into making Edinburgh both good to watch and successful.
“It’s also a really good time to come in with all the excitement around the launch of the new stadium this summer. It’s a massive, watershed moment for the club.”
Blair joined Glasgow as Assistant Coach in 2016 and operated in that capacity for club and country until 2019 – helping the club reach the PRO14 semi-final and Grand Final (2018 and 2019) and two Champions Cup quarter-finals (2017 and 2019) – before focusing fully on national team matters for the past two years.
Prior to coaching, Blair was a player of worldwide repute.
He earned 85 caps for his country and toured with the British & Irish Lions in 2009. He also played professional club rugby in England for Newcastle Falcons and in France with Brive.