Blair Ready To Take Plunge Against Courrent

ImageDavid Blair admits he is not going into unfamiliar territory ahead of his Heineken Cup debut for Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Saturday (10 November, kick off 3.30pm) because his opposite number, Toulouse stand-off Valentin Courrent is a former team-mate.

Three weeks ago, the promising fly-half, younger brother of Edinburgh and Scotland scrum-half Mike, was lining up for club side Edinburgh Academicals at Stirling County.

But now, after scoring 15 points against Connacht and Munster, the 22-year-old National Academy player is set to play his first game for Edinburgh at Murrayfield against the three times Heineken Cup winners.

Nevertheless the Edinburgh-born back knows what he is up against because Courrent was his rival as understudy to England playmaker Charlie Hodgson when the pair were up-and-coming players at Sale Sharks two seasons ago.

Blair said: "Valentin was at Sale when I was there. He is playing at 10 as well on Saturday, so that will be good fun to play against him because I got to know him quite well.

"We were in a similar situation because we were both away from home and we were both going for the same position. It should be interesting and it will be good to see him again.

"A lot of the young guys at Sale were put up in houses all within a five-minute radius of each other. So we got to know each other quite well, it was good fun and we were all good friends."

The ascendancy from playing in front of a crowd of 180 at Bridgehaugh Park to playing against Toulouse's constellation of stars at Murrayfield might leave most rugby players feeling awestruck, but Blair is adamant he is just grateful for being handed the chance to shine.

He added: "I"m looking forward to it. This is my first Heineken Cup game and this is what you play for; playing against one of the biggest teams, so you can see where you"re at.

"I think we lost by a couple of points at Stirling County and I didn't really think I would be playing against Toulouse in the Heineken Cup when I last lined up for Accies.

"At that point, I didn't even think I was that close to playing in the Magners League, but it is a nice feeling.
"I"ve just been waiting for an opportunity. At Sale, it was frustrating because I didn't get a lot of backing and when I did I got injured. Now it is nice to be given three games in a row. It is good in that respect that I"m getting continuity and that I can show what to do."