Blair refusing to dwell on negatives
February 25, 2012
Mike Blair has been restored to the Scotland No.9 jersey © Getty Images
Mike Blair, the Scotland scrum-half, has called on his team-mates to better cope with adversity in Sunday's Six Nations clash with France.
The 30-year-old halfback has been restored to the starting line-up for the Murrayfield showdown, where Scotland require a first win over France since 2006 to buck the downward trend of their tournament.
Losses to England and Wales have given Andy Robinson's side plenty of food for thought, but Blair believes that they must learn to take setbacks in their stride.
"France are the World Cup finalists, they are the second best team in the world," he said. "It's a massive challenge for us. We have been improving, but we now need to get over the finish line.
"There have been so many positives to have come out of the first two games, which almost makes things even more frustrating. The problem is that the negatives we've had have had a big effect on us. Our negatives have resulted in them scoring a try or kicking goals and our positives haven't.
"We've been able to put pressure on, but we haven't been able to make that pressure count. That's a big thing for us - being able to turn that pressure into points."
Blair will be joined in the starting line-up by the exciting Glasgow fullback Stuart Hogg, while John Barclay - an openside by trade - will deputise for the injured Alasdair Strokosch in the No.6 jersey.
"It all adds to improving the speed of the game," Blair said. "We lose a little bit of bulk there, but we make up for it in speed around the pitch. If we can continue to get the quick ball we've had in the last two games we'll certainly give ourselves opportunities."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The Monday Maul turns its attention to drunken nights out, a blunt-talking coach, hidden agendas and crooked feeds
As if beating the Springboks and Pumas on their home turf is not onerous enough Australia, it also involves a road trip from hell writes Greg Growden
He teed up Obolensky's try, fought in Burma and played cricket for Warwickshire - we Rewind to look at the story of Peter Cranmer
With the World Cup just a year away, Tom Hamilton picks out five matches to ensure you have tickets for