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Two more Internationalists commit to Gunners

Blair & Webster sign new contracts



Two of Scotland's stars in Sunday's 20-16 win over France in the RBS 6 Nations Championship at Murrayfield have signed again with the Edinburgh Gunners for a further two years.

Scrum-half Mike Blair and winger Simon Webster both played notable roles in the victory, adding to the dynamic impact they have made for the Gunners who are currently sitting third in the Celtic League and serious title contenders.

Blair was given the nod to start at scrum-half on Sunday, while Webster came off the bench into the centre in place of Marcus Di Rollo less than half an hour in. Blair kicked off the season with three successive man-of-the-match nominations in the Celtic League including in Edinburgh's opening 21-15 victory over Llanelli Scarlets at Stradey Park.

Webster came on as a replacement in Edinburgh's 32-31 win over London Wasps in the Heineken Cup and scored his side's late try to seal the victory. He bagged another late try as a replacement in Scotland's loss to New Zealand in the 2005 Autumn Tests having gathered fellow Gunner Phil Godman's grubber kick.

Blair said: "Edinburgh as a club have progressed year on year and I'm really looking forward to helping to continue the development of the team. It has been an exciting season for all of us and there is real confidence in the squad because we know we are capable of big things."

Webster said: "It's really good to have signed again. I've been with Edinburgh for four years and I've thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. It has been getting better and better and the way this season has gone it is totally the right thing for me to do. I'm really pleased and looking forward to the coming seasons already."

Gunners' head coach Todd Blackadder said: "I'm very pleased that Mike and Simon have shown their commitment to Edinburgh. They are hugely positive signings, especially after Edinburgh's contribution to the Scotland game on Sunday. Not only are they great players but they're real club men too.

"Mike is having an outstanding season and Simon is proving himself to have a real impact on the field. They are top class, enthusiastic and professional players," he added.

MICHAEL BLAIR (Edinburgh Gunners and Boroughmuir) Scrum half. Born 20.4.81 in Edinburgh. 5ft 11in, 13st 5lbs. School - Edinburgh Academy. Michael Robert Leighton Blair travelled as one of the squad vice-captains on Scotland's summer tour to Australia in 2004. Last season he made a try scoring introduction from the bench in the historic 100 - 8 win against Japan. He was outstanding in Scotland's first ever win against the Barbarians at Pittodrie in Aberdeen, setting up Sean Lamont's try. He made his Rugby World Cup debut when he started against the USA in 2003. Earlier that year, his vision and pace were stamped all over his second try for Scotland, against Italy in the Rugby World Cup Countdown Test. In 2002 he had made his try scoring debut for Scotland against Canada on the tour of North America. He made that tour after scoring a 60-metre try in the non-cap match against the Barbarians at Murrayfield. He also made a try scoring appearance as a substitute in Scotland A's 13-19 defeat by their French counterparts in March 2002. In 2001 he represented Scotland in the IRB Sevens in London, where he was the top try scorer of the tournament. He has represented Scottish Schools and Scotland at U19 and U21 levels and was part of the Scotland 7s squad at the Manchester Commonwealth Games. Prior to joining Boroughmuir, Mike played for Edinburgh Academicals. He is a member of the Scottish Institute of Sport.

International record: 28 caps. 2002 - C USA. 2003 - F(rep) W (rep) SA2 (rep) It I WC(USA) 2004 - W(rep) E(rep) It(rep) F(rep) I(rep) Sam(rep) A1(rep) A(rep) J(rep) A(rep) SA(rep) 2005 - I(rep) It(rep) W(rep) E R Arg Sam(rep) NZ(rep). 2006 - F

Points: 20 - 4 tries

SIMON WEBSTER (Edinburgh Gunners and Currie) Centre/Wing. Born 8.3.81 in Hartlepool. 6ft 1 in, 13st 7lbs. Simon Webster scored Scotland's only try after he came on as a substitute in the 2005 Autumn Test against New Zealand. Previously, he had made his home Six Nations debut when he started against England in February 2004. He marked his Scotland debut with a try in the RWC Countdown loss to Ireland in September 2003. He scored his second Scotland try in the 2004 six nations outing against Italy and his third in the Test against Samoa on the 2004 summer tour. In 2003 in the year he played in the non-cap contest against the Barbarians as a prelude to touring South Africa. He made his Scotland A debut in the November 2002 win over Fiji and retained his place for the 22-all draw with Ireland A at Stirling in February 2003 and the subsequent games against France A and England A. He qualifies to play for Scotland through his grandparents, who hail from Greenock. He recovered from a knee injury to play for Scotland at U19 level in the IRB/FIRA Junior World Cup (1999/2000). He turned professional in time for the 2000/2001 season and went on to make his debut for Northampton Saints against Newcastle Falcons. In 2001 he was part of the Barbarians team who won the Tilney Melrose Sevens and he has played eight times for Scotland under-21. In the summer of 2002 he signed with Edinburgh Rugby.

International record: 12 caps. 2003 - I (rep). 2004 - W(rep) E It F I Sam A1 A2. 2005 - It NZ(rep). 2006 - F (rep)

Points: 20 - 4 tries.