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Scotland promote Mike Blair to interim head coach role for three-game summer series

By Sam Smith
(Photo by PA)

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Scotland have confirmed plans for a three-match summer tour minus Lions assistant Gregor Townsend, opening with an A-team match against unnamed opponents before heading to Europe to take on eastern pair Romania and Georgia with Mike Blair in charge.


Head coach Townsend, along with defence coach Steve Tandy, were both chosen by Warren Gatland as assistants for the Lions tour to South Africa, a development that had led to Blair stepping up as interim Scotland boss from his usual role as attack coach.  

With Tandy absent, Glasgow assistant Peter Murchie will take on the defence coach brief while Jim Mallinder, the Scottish Rugby Union’s high-performance director, will also assist a coaching group that will include regular forwards coach John Dalziel and scrum coach Pieter de Villiers.

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Mike Brown and Maggie Alphonsi guest on the latest RugbyPass Offload
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Mike Brown and Maggie Alphonsi guest on the latest RugbyPass Offload

 Scotland A will open the schedule in late June before attention turns to the two Test games at yet to be confirmed venues. Andy Robinson’s Romania are first up on July 10 followed by Georgia seven days later. Blair said: “I’d like to thank Gregor and Jim for this opportunity to lead the Scotland summer tour and I’m looking forward to continuing to build the positive culture and results we have achieved in recent months.

“This tour gives us the chance to work with a wider group of players and see how they can step up into the international game, whilst also continuing to look to improve with our established Scotland players. The three matches will present very different challenges and as a squad and coaching group we will be looking to continue to create depth and competition for places within strong team performances.”

Mallinder added: “In what will be a busy summer of rugby I’m pleased we will have three meaningful fixtures for Scotland in the summer tour window. The opportunity to put out a Scotland A side enables the coaches to see and work with a wider group of players with an eye on the future before we face two Test matches away from home against quality opposition in Georgia and Romania.


“It also gives me personally a chance to spend time with coaches and players which will help develop those important relationships and connections that come with spending an extended period of time together.”


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