Scotland scrum half Mike Blair retires from international rugby
All time cap record holder at number nine says move to France influenced his decision.
Scotland scrum half Mike Blair has called time on his international career ahead of the upcoming Six Nations campaign.
Blair, 31, the nation’s most capped scrum half of all time, said that his move to France to play for Brive was part of his decision, as well as deciding he would not be in contention for the squad for the 2015 World Cup in England.
Announcing his retirement on Monday, Blair told the Scottish Rugby website: “I’m in the very fortunate position of being able to decide myself when my international career ends. For me, that time is now.
“There’s no doubt that moving our family to France has played a part in my decision.
“Our son Rory is now at school here and we have an 11-week-old daughter, Lucy, who was born in Brive.
“However, it’s a combination of reasons that’s led to my standing down from international rugby, not just one factor.
“For me a place in the squad at the Rugby World Cup in 2015 is not a realistic personal target and, with that in mind, it’s right for Scottish rugby and the Scotland team, that other players gain experience in a pivotal position.”
Blair scored 35 points in his 85 appearances in Scotland blue, the first of which came in June 2002 against Canada.
He captained the side between 2008 and 2010 and the former Edinburgh Rugby man said leading out the country at Murrayfield Stadium remained his greatest memory of his international career.
Blair said: “I will miss that exhilarating feeling of running out to a capacity crowd with the whole country behind you.
“The noise when leading the team out for the first time as captain at Murrayfield against England in 2008, when we won 15-9, still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up when I think about it.”
Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson paid tribute to Blair and said he enjoyed having the chance to work with him during the summer tour and autumn home tests.
Johnson said: “There’s no doubt he’s a quality international rugby player and a quality bloke.
“I respect and understand his decision to retire from the international game now and, on behalf of all Scotland fans, thank him for his years of dedication to the national team.”