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'There's always a story leading into them and we've talked about that'

By PA
Mike Blair (Photo by Paul Devlin/SNS Group via Getty Images)

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Mike Blair insists there is still plenty more to come from Edinburgh as he prepares to lead his in-form side into a first 1872 Cup match as head coach.

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The men from the Scottish capital are riding high in the United Rugby Championship and have won each of their last five matches, including their stunning triumph away to Saracens in the European Challenge Cup last time out.

However, Blair feels his team are not yet operating at their best and is hopeful they can deliver a polished performance in Monday’s inter-city derby away to Glasgow.

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He said: “We’ve been pleased with our results, but I think we’ve got a long way to go in terms of how we’re playing. I’ve got really high expectations and high standards for this team.

“We’ve got a quality squad so we want to keep pushing our performances. Even in games when we’ve had a bonus-point win, we shouldn’t just be happy with that because of the result. We want to keep pushing our standards to get better week in, week out and push at the top of this league.

“The vibe is good. There is a good atmosphere in the squad but we’re aware we need to be right on top of our game against a Glasgow side who have had a couple of good performances in the last couple of weeks.”

After a decade with Edinburgh between 2002 and 2012, Blair ended his playing career with Glasgow before going into coaching with the Scotstoun club.

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He is relishing his first taste of the derby since becoming Edinburgh’s head coach in the summer.

Blair, who has made seven changes to the team that started against Saracens, said: “It’s been interesting to have sat on both sides of the fence. It’s a great occasion for both teams.

“These games always have something about them. There is always something to play for, there’s always a story leading into them and we’ve talked about that this week as a group in terms of the history and importance of the derby fixtures.

“They are always emotional games. You are representing the club and the city, while you are pulling on the jersey in a hugely historic fixture. You are also playing for the supporters as well, giving them bragging rights over their rivals.

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“It’s really disappointing we couldn’t get the crowds in because they love these occasions and often they’ll be the biggest crowds that our club games will get, but it will be a big occasion nonetheless.”

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