Blair: We found a way to win and that’s important
Get reaction from Head Coach Mike Blair as he spoke with media following Saturday's Heineken Champions Cup win against Castres at DAM Health Stadium.
“I was really impressed with them. They’ve got size, they’ve got cohesion and they don’t do a huge amount of special things as a team, but they stick in there and their set-piece was good, so that put pressure on us, especially in the first half when the breeze was against us.
“The breeze did die a little bit in the second half, which was a shame, but we found a way to win.
“Today was one of those days where we created a fair bit but the ball wasn’t sticking. Sometimes you have days like that, and I’m just pleased it came on a day where we were still able to get five points in the bag.”
On Duhan van der Merwe pulling out pre-match and other injuries
“He’s been touch and go all week. He trained with us on Friday but he didn’t seem confident with it so we just made that decision.
“Damien [Hoyland] played really well off the bench last week and we just felt it was a great opportunity for him to back that up.
“Stuart [McInally] obviously didn’t pass that first stage HIA so couldn’t come back on so we’ll just wait and see with him.
“Blair [Kinghorn] was a back spasm. I’d hope he’ll be alright for next week, but back spasms can be complicated because it depends on the impact it has on your hamstrings and so on.”
On bouncing back after losing three on the trot
“That’s why I don’t want to be critical of today. We found a way to win. We came across some adversity just before half-time, and I was pulling my hair out when we gave away that penalty.
“But to not concede in those minutes before half-time was really good and meant we could go into the changing room with our chests out after playing in to a tough wind and being a point up.”
On winning and showing signs of growth
“What’s important is that it’s not a one-week learning. This needs to be a season learning. In the past we have fixed things, or we’ve talked about things in meetings, and been on it the next week.
“We just need to make sure that’s embedded within us. Some of our smarts, being switched on all the time, we have to get that sort of stuff right week to week, because sometimes we drop off a little bit and that’s when the result changes.
On securing five points and standings in the Heineken Champions Cup
“We just have to win games. The old adage of winning your home games and trying to0 steal something away from home was more around the six teams in a pool, but it is still probably relevant.
“Seven points got you into the knock-out stage last time, but it depends on which league you are in, and whether some teams drop off if they think they are not going to qualify after the first couple of games.
“We’ll just wait and see, and try to win all our games.”