Blair: “There is a bigger mission than this one.”
Get the reaction from Head Coach Mike Blair after his side's bonus-point win against Castres Olympique.
On the team’s fitness
We looked to keep the ball in play, fatiguing them. Things always don’t go as you plan them but they definitely looked more fatigued at the end. We also kept our starters on for a fair bit of the game as well because we felt they were accustomed to the conditions and we had the wet in the second half. Sometimes when you bring new players on it takes them a bit of time to get up to speed. They bring a freshness but sometimes it is too much. We were pleased to get through that one. We put ourselves in a tough position again. It was similar in a way to Zebre in that the game turned around when we were down and the rain came on and we were playing into the breeze. I don’t know if that came across on tv. We were playing into a stiff breeze in the second half but the way we got out of that was excellent.
On qualifying for the last 16
There is a bigger mission than that one. We are pleased to get to that stage and it is a huge game next week against Saracens. We have done well because we have got two bonus point wins and a losing bonus point. A win will give us a home round of 16 but I have to check. It is a good achievement so far as there are so many teams in there with quality. To get through with a round to spare is excellent , especially when you consider we were in a group with two teams that were in the final of their domestic competitions last year. We are pleased we won but we want to stretch ourselves, we want to win at home.
On Blair Kinghorn
Really chuffed for him because he had a number of real pressure kicks and he nailed them all. You tend to watch the kickers and when they turn away relatively quickly you know they have got them and Blair turned away pretty quickly on all of them. I am delighted for Blair. He looks at his game with a very critical eye and this kicking will be very good for his confidence.
On knockout rugby
We should be positive about it because we are bloody quick to be negative about stuff. If there is something to be positive about then I think we should take that opportunity.
It is different to the previous format because in the past you went straight to the quarter-finals as opposed to going into a round of 16, but I still think this is a brilliant achievement for Edinburgh. The teams we are playing against other English and French finalists from last season – to get 11 points from those first three games is significant.
For Glasgow, different teams play this competition in different ways. Perpignan’s focus will be on the top 14, but at the same time getting into the knockout stages allows you to get momentum. You’ve seen what it’s done for Scarlets for example. They won a couple of games in the challenge cup and that gave them confidence going into the URC.
We want our Scottish players playing in knockout ties because that’s where they improve their pressure game. Under pressure, which players perform well? That allows Gregor and Steve and JD to see which players are ready to perform for Scotland in a pressure environment as well.
I think it’s really important for Scottish rugby that we are getting into the knockout stages of competitions.