Champions Cup: Mike Blair hopes Edinburgh can continue their new year revival

Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair hopes his side can continue their fine form in 2023 by defeating Saracens on Sunday to secure a home draw in the knockout stages of the Champions Cup. Credit: Alamy
Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair hopes his side can continue their fine form in 2023 by defeating Saracens on Sunday to secure a home draw in the knockout stages of the Champions Cup. Credit: Alamy

Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair hopes his side can continue their fine form in 2023 by beating Saracens on Sunday to secure a home draw in the knockout stages of the Champions Cup.

Blair’s charges finished 2022 with five defeats in six games, with the head coach saying he was “feeling challenged in the job” and “was not getting the best out of the players” after back-to-back defeats to Glasgow.

Morale boosting wins

However, his side look to be turning the corner in the new year after a home victory over Zebre in the United Rugby Championship, and an away win over Castres in the Champions Cup.

“It’s amazing the difference a win can make,” Blair told Edinburgh’s website.

“Claiming all five points in Castres was a brilliant result for us, and it’s acted as a catalyst for a really strong training week.

“A win like that focuses the mind a little bit more, and there’s been a buzz around the squad as we prepare to take on a quality Saracens side who are full of confidence at the moment.”

Massive European tie

Ahead of the clash with the Premiership heavyweights, Blair has made three changes to his starting XV, with Luke Crosbie, James Lang and Ben Vellacott all added to the starting team.

The Scottish side are assured of a place in the knockouts, but a win will secure them a home game in the next round.

“Games like this are why we’re all involved in professional rugby,” said Blair.

“A massive European tie against English giants, a sold-out home crowd and the prospect of securing home advantage in the knockout stages.

“To have a sold-out DAM Health Stadium behind us will be absolutely massive, and I’m sure our supporters will back us from first minute to last, as they have done all season.”

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