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Blair calls time on Scotland

07th January 2013 10:11

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85 caps: Mike Blair

Brive scrum-half Mike Blair, Scotland's most-capped number nine, is to retire from international rugby after winning 85 caps.

Blair, 31, is bringing down the curtain on a glittering ten-year international career during which he skippered Scotland on 14 occasions, toured with the British and Irish Lions in 2009 and became the only Scottish player thus far to be nominated for IRB World Player of the Year in 2008 to finish as the second most-capped Scottish back of all time.

"I'm in the very fortunate position of being able to decide myself when my international career ends. For me, that time is now," said Blair.

"I have enjoyed immensely representing my country for more than ten years and will miss that exhilarating feeling of running out to a capacity crowd with the whole country behind you.

"The noise when leading the team out for the first time as captain at Murrayfield against England in 2008, when we won 15-9, still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up when I think about it.

"I want to thank everyone - my family, the Scotland management teams past and present, my team mates and our supporters - for their enormous contribution to my international career. I have been very fortunate to have these people around me.

"There's no doubt that moving our family to France has played a part in my decision. Our son Rory is now at school here and we have an 11-week-old daughter, Lucy, who was born in Brive.

"However, it's a combination of reasons that's led to my standing down from international rugby, not just one factor.

"For me a place in the squad at the Rugby World Cup in 2015 is not a realistic personal target and, with that in mind, it's right for Scottish rugby and the Scotland team, that other players gain experience in a pivotal position."

Scotland's interim head coach Scott Johnson added: "I really enjoyed working with Mike during the summer tour and the more recent autumn Tests."

"There's no doubt he's a quality international rugby player and a quality bloke. I respect and understand his decision to retire from the international game now and, on behalf of all Scotland fans, thank him for his years of dedication to the national team."

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