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'Mike's almost a new-generation coach': Why Edinburgh trust Blair

By PA
(Photo by Getty Images)

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WP Nel has detected enough so far this season to believe Edinburgh are set to thrive under recently appointed coach Mike Blair. The Murrayfield outfit won their United Rugby Championship opener against Scarlets in their new DAM Health Stadium and then came agonisingly close to notching another victory away to Benetton on Saturday before losing 28-27 in the last play of the match.

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Despite the late disappointment in Italy, prop Nel is upbeat about how things are shaping up under Blair, who took over from Richard Cockerill in the summer at Edinburgh. He said: “It’s definitely an exciting time to be an Edinburgh player. Mike is almost a new-generation coach. He wants to bring something different to the table. It’s a brand of running rugby but also being sensible in what we are doing.

“It is a challenging style of rugby to play but it is also fun. You can see how the boys are adapting to it and the type of rugby we are playing. It’s great to see. We need to build on what we have done so far.”

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Nel admits the defeat in Treviso was galling but he believes they can take plenty from it as they look to bounce back at home to South African side Stormers next Saturday. He said: “We were very disappointed but it was unforced errors in the last 20 minutes that cost us. 

“We can’t be happy with that but it’s a good learning curve for us because we know we can go away and win if we sort out those small details in the crunch moments.

“A loss is never what you want but when we looked back on the video, there were a lot of positives to take out of it. You can see we are building as a team. We put the defeat behind us and take on a new week. 

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“We are back at home against the Stormers and we can’t wait to have our supporters hopefully filling the stands again and getting behind us. The pitch will probably suit the running rugby they want to play. They did well against Munster so we have a challenge on our hands. We will be ready for it.”

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