Mike Blair: Scotland camp was not a complete waste of time despite Covid issues

Mike Blair insists there were some positives to take from Scotland’s camp despite all three summer games being cancelled due to Covid-19 issues.

The Scots had been forced to call off an ‘A’ international against England and a Test match away to Romania due to several positive tests for the virus being returned in the camp.

Then it was announced on Friday morning that Scotland’s Test against Georgia in Tbilisi on Saturday week was cancelled due to a coronavirus outbreak in the home camp.

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Georgia reported six positive cases whilst in South Africa this week which led to the cancellation of their Test against the hosts.

The subsequent need for a 12-day period of isolation and further medical assessment meant an agreement was reached to cancel the fixture.

However, Scotland’s interim head coach Blair insists the time together had some benefits.

He said: “Everyone is really disappointed. When the squad and management team was put together, there was a huge amount of excitement as to what was to come, the opportunities for the players and staff in new positions to show what they can do.

  • England A

  • Romania

  • Georgia

“But things don’t always go as you plan them to. We are really disappointed but we still found that we were able to get some stuff out of it. It wasn’t a complete waste of time.

“We spoke at the start of the campaign about having a really varied blend of groups; some in the international camp for the first time, some who had some caps or experience and some guys who were more experienced.

“We talked about how they could get some stuff out the camp and what we had to do was pull that back to stuff that wasn’t on the pitch.

“So what traits did we see from them? We definitely saw character and how players dealt with adversity and in terms of their personalities, what their drive for success was.

“We did have some time on the training pitch in which we were able to assess some of them but these traits are really important and another thing that has become more and more important with international rugby, certainly, is the relationships you build up with management and players and players with players.

“Yes, we had isolation periods but there was opportunities within that to get to know each other and improve from that point of view so we still managed to get a huge amount out of it.”

Scotland’s squad had returned to graduated training at Oriam Performance Centre this week after a round of negative PCR tests allowed the team to begin preparations ahead of departing for Georgia this weekend.

However, with Scotland men’s summer schedule now concluded, players will be released back to their respective clubs.