On This Day in 2013 – Scotland great Mike Blair steps down from world stage

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  • Mike Blair
    Scottish rugby union player

Former Scotland captain Mike Blair announced his retirement from international rugby on this day in 2013.

The 31-year-old said he would be stepping down from the world stage in order to focus on his new life in France while allowing Scotland to blood new scrum-half talent before the 2015 World Cup.

Blair captained his country for the 14th and final time just six months earlier, in a summer tour victory over Samoa, but the Brive player decided to leave the international arena despite being a regular pick.

Rugby Union – RBS 6 Nations Championship 2011 – France v Scotland – Stade de France
Mike Blair (left) in action for Scotland against France (Lynne Cameron/PA)

In a statement released by the Scottish Rugby Union, Blair said: “I’m in the very fortunate position of being able to decide myself when my international career ends. For me, that time is now.

“There is no doubt that moving our family to France has played a part in my decision.”

Scotland’s most-capped scrum-half, Blair represented his country on 85 occasions and was also selected for the British and Irish Lions.

He made a try-scoring debut for Scotland against Canada in 2002 after representing his country at schools, under-19, under-21, sevens and A levels.

He added: “I have enjoyed immensely representing my country for more than 10 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.”

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