Edinburgh's Blair brothers together for first time
October 24, 2007

David Blair is set to make his Edinburgh debut at stand-off away to Connacht on Friday and in the process play alongside his elder brother, Scotland scrum-half Mike, for the first time.

David, 22, moved to his hometown club from Sale Sharks in July and has been given the nod by head coach Andy Robinson to take his Magners League bow at the Galway Sportsground.

And scrum-half Mike, 26, revealed the last time they played together was many years ago in the family's back garden.

Mike Blair said: "That was probably the last time we played together. There are four boys in my family and we always liked to have a kick-around.

"It is really exciting because I've not played with David before. So it should be good fun and a good experience.

"I'm not sure whether our Mum and Dad will be able to go over and watch the game, but I'm certainly looking forward to it."

Far from expecting that he will have to help his younger sibling cope with the demands of the Magners League, Mike thinks David could be the dominant half-back partner during the match.

He added: "I think I will have to concentrate on my own game rather than specifically help Dave out on the pitch.

"He has been playing for Accies (Edinburgh Academicals) for the last three or four games and he also had a run-out against Tonga in pre-season as well.

"He will be feeling match-fit and will probably be a bit sharper than me, so it will be a case of him perhaps looking after me."

David is similarly excited about the prospect of establishing family ties in the half-back combination and revealed he is equally thrilled to be playing with old friend Ross Rennie.

David Blair said: "We've always said it would be funny if we ever played together and we are now.

"Ross Rennie is playing at seven as well and I've known him for a long time, so that is another good aspect."

The National Academy stand-off and Scotland Under-21 international believes has been developing at a steady rate in club rugby with Edinburgh Academicals and, like John Houston before him, he has been handed a chance to shine in the professional game.

He added: "It has been good at Edinburgh Accies. It has been good playing every week and getting some game-time.

"But I realise there is a long way to go, it is going to be my first start and hopefully we can get our first win on the road."

The Blairs are emulating Gavin and Scott Hastings and Sean and Rory Lamont before them - and David feels it was a logical career path for him to pursue.

"Rugby is a family sport, so if your brother plays the game then you will as well. I've watched Mike play ever since I was young and I've seen him develop which has inspired me."

Allister Hogg returns to captain Edinburgh at blindside flanker behind an all-Scotland international front row with new signing Ross Ford joining props Gavin Kerr and Craig Smith.

Scotland's Hugo Southwell (full-back) and Simon Webster (wing) also return to the back three for a match that Mike Blair expects to be an incredibly tough test.

"A lot of the Magners League clubs have strengthened over the summer and Connacht are one of them," the scrum-half said. "They've got Tim Donnelly, who is a pretty handy player at stand-off, so they've recruited well and they will be tough opposition."

Edinburgh team v Connacht: Hugo Southwell, Andrew Turnbull, Ben Cairns, Nick De Luca, Simon Webster, David Blair, Mike Blair; Gavin Kerr, Ross Ford, Craig Smith, Craig Hamilton, Ben Gissing, Allister Hogg (captain), Ross Rennie, Simon Cross.

Replacements: Andrew Kelly, Augusto Allori, Matt Mustchin, Roland Reid, Ben Meyer, Ali Warnock, John Houston.

© Scrum.com

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