Blair: “There was a huge amount of motivation.”
Get reaction from Head Coach Mike Blair following Edinburgh Rugby’s emphatic Round 17 victory against Ospreys which saw the hosts score seven tries en route to a 45-21 victory in the Scottish capital.
On the win
“I’m so conflicted. I thought for the vast majority of the game we were right on it. We had a five-minute period around 30 minutes when Sam got his yellow card and we lost it a little bit, but apart from that we were on it for a huge amount the game.
“There is huge satisfaction that we’ve done that; that we’ve put away a team like Ospreys with the quality they have, but it’s tinged with a bit of frustration that we’ve not seen that consistency of performance throughout that season.”
On the match potentially being his last at home
“This game for me was about the club and the players. The guys had different motivations – some might have been playing their last game for the club, some certainly their last home game.
“Some guys are playing for World Cup camp places, and there are other guys who have been here for a while and want to show what playing for Edinburgh means.
“There was a huge amount of motivation for the players. I don’t think it was a nothing game – there was pressure on it.
“Ospreys were playing for the Welsh Shield. Scoring two tries early loosened things off a bit. It was a good competent performance. We kept the foot on the throat, which is something we have consistently talked about this season.”
On Darcy Graham
“He’s brilliant, Darcy. His first game back in Connacht, he made three clean linebreaks and was saying how frustrated he was at not having made more, and that he hadn’t beaten someone one-on-one.
“He had a tough game against Leicester in the wet under the high ball. I don’t think he enjoyed the first half tonight, but he’s a special, special player and he makes something happen out of nothing.
“He’s scoring that try 99 times out of a hundred, whereas a lot of other wingers would be scoring it 50 times out of a hundred. He’s got a sense, an understanding, and he moves so well and he’s low to the ground.
“Once that kick goes in, you know it’s odds-on for him to be scoring.”
On Marshall Sykes and other injuries
“I’ve not seen Marshall, I just saw he had the crutches on. I haven’t heard any update but it was his knee.
“There were a few soldiers on the pitch today. Jamie Hodgson couldn’t walk for the last 30 minutes and we needed him for the line out otherwise Bill Mata was moving into the second row.
“But then Bill went off with his shoulder so Chris Dean was going to be covering the back-row but then we couldn’t bring Chris Dean on. There was a lot going on.
“It wasn’t pretty the last 20 minutes but we found a way.”
On the club being in a better position
“There’s lots of different factors that would probably contribute to that I think the fact that crowd we got here is the best crowd we’ve had for a Welsh game in a “meaningless” game, the numbers were brilliant, the atmosphere here.
“I think half if not two thirds of the guys stayed to receive the lap of thanks so from that side of things there has definitely been growth.
“I believe that what I’ve tried to do isn’t an 18 month or 2 year process. It is a three- or four-year process in terms of empowering the players, giving them ownership of the team.
“These things don’t just happen so I believe we are starting to move in the right direction but it’s not for me to say that.”
On Darcy being back to his best
“When Wes Goosen signed at the start of the year, he went through Darcy’s games with him and showed the different ways that Darcy picks up the ball, whether it’s from attacking kicks or around the breakdown or working of 10 and he’s outstanding at it.
“His first try was a play that we played against Scarlets, first game of the season last year.
“Often you coach things thinking about how you remember things or how you view things and Darcy has just got this ability in tight spaces to find space and that’s why we had that move.
“Damo [Damien Hoyland] had the same one in the first half where he almost got through, but he understands his body and the way he finishes.
“He’ll take a huge amount of confidence from that.”