Glasgow Warriors scrum-half Mike Blair retires and takes up coaching role
By Mike Patterson
Last Updated: 21/04/16 11:31am
Glasgow Warriors scrum-half Mike Blair has called time on his playing career with immediate effect and will take up the role of assistant coach at the Guinness PRO12 club next season.
Blair only joined Glasgow this season and has made 12 appearances for the club after previous spells with Edinburgh, Brive and Newcastle Falcons.
The 35-year-old is Scotland's most-capped scrum-half with 85 appearances for his country, including 14 as captain before his international retirement in 2013. He also toured South Africa with the British and Irish Lions in 2009.
He made his last appearance for the Warriors in the win over Cardiff Blues at Scotstoun at the beginning of March and is currently sidelined with concussion.
"It was always my intention to move into a coaching role and although there was an opportunity to play on next year, I believe now is the right time for me to make that change," Blair said.
"I had originally planned to retire at the end of last season, but I'm glad Gregor [Townsend] persuaded me to play on at Glasgow. I've really enjoyed the season and it's a brilliant environment to be part of.
"With only a few games left this season, I have unfortunately run out of time to be able to regain my fitness before the end of this campaign.
"My recent spell on the sidelines has allowed me to start coaching earlier than expected, working with scrum-halves Henry Pyrgos, Grayson Hart and Ali Price, all of whom are currently playing very well. They have been a pleasure to work with and I look forward to working with them more as the season draws to a close and extending this role to the rest of the squad as we move into next season.
"I'm lucky to have had a long career and to have played with some amazing players and made life-long friends.
"I'll definitely miss the camaraderie on the pitch and in the changing room, but it's time to move on and a new challenge awaits."
Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend said: "I was delighted when Mike agreed to come to Glasgow last summer.
"He exceeded our expectations on the field with some outstanding performances and would have been in the running for player of the season before picking up his recent injury.
"In my opinion he is one of Scotland's best ever rugby players and it was great to see him play in a Warriors jersey this season.
"It's disappointing that he's not able to finish his career on his own terms, but he can reflect on a brilliant career both at club and at international level.
"He'll get lots of opportunities to develop as a coach here and he's excited about that. He'll join our coaching group as an assistant with a primary focus on attack and skills, as well as continuing his work as a scrum-half coach."