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Time for a change says Blair

Guinness PRO12 Editor

7 Apr 2011

Edinburgh’s departing fly-half David Blair insists now is the right time for a substantial change in career path.

Despite featuring in 15 of Edinburgh’s Magners League matches and playing the full 80 minutes on 13 occasions this term, the 25-year-old will hang up his boots and enter into a teaching degree later this year.

Blair’s decision to conclude his time in professional rugby at the end of this season may come as a shock to outsiders but it is a move he had come close to deciding upon almost 12 months ago.

And while he is as yet undecided whether he will start his studies at Loughborough or Stirling University, he is sure of one thing: that his decision to quit rugby is the right one.

"I have a lot to be thankful for – the tough times and the good times – but that's a great experience for life. It's time for a change now,” said Blair.

“It’s been a tremendous privilege to be part of this environment, and I’ve met some great people along the way.

“The time has come to open a different chapter, but I look forward to keeping in touch with the coaches and teammates who I’ve worked alongside.”

But while Blair departs Scotland’s capital city outfit on good terms, the decision to move on may never have been one he looked to make had he been blessed with better fortune over recent years.

Built up as one of Scotland’s best young talents, Blair was tipped to follow his elder brother Mike into the senior Scotland ranks.

His record points-scoring exploits for Scotland U21s brought plenty of attention, as did a promising start to his professional career with English outfit Sale Sharks.

But a series of injuries and a lack of game time both in England and Scotland prior to this season eventually led Blair to decide that his future will be best served as a teacher rather than a rugby player.

"I remember playing and beating England U21s, a team including Toby Flood and Ben Foden. I played against a number of stand-offs coming through the age groups – Jonny Sexton, Lionel Beauxis and James Hook – and watched them develop,” Blair told The Scotsman.

"Going from the U21s level up, they seemed to play every single week and get real opportunities to develop their game, while I got just a few appearances off the bench for the last 10 minutes in games.

"It wasn't easy at Sale because I was behind Charlie Hodgson and when he was injured and I was given my chance, Gloucester No8 James Forrester broke a small bone in my back when he fell on me with his knee, and that was me out for five months.

"I came to Edinburgh hoping I would be able to develop there with more game-time, and in my first season I started five games on the trot, but then ripped open my hand when a ball hit me between the pinkie and next finger, and was out for a few months.

"It has been frustrating, like revising for an exam, but never being allowed to sit it. You just feel there is a lot of wasted energy and time and with rugby being my life there were times when it ground you down.”