Ali Price: Wisdom of Mike Blair key to signing new Glasgow contract

Scotland scrum-half Ali Price with skills coach Mike Blair
Ali Price, right, is thriving under the guidance of Mike Blair, who won over 80 caps as Scotland's scrum-half
Champions Cup: Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium Date: Friday, 8 December Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland (FM), 5 live sports extra and the BBC Sport website

Ali Price says the wisdom and tutelage of former Scotland captain Mike Blair was key to his signing a new Glasgow Warriors contract.

The scrum-half, 24, penned a two-year deal last month to remain at Scotstoun until at least May 2020.

Blair won 85 Scotland caps wearing number nine, and is now a skills coach for Warriors and the national team.

"I've worked with Mike a couple of years and I go through every game that I play [with him]," Price said.

"Games get coded and you've got player clips. As a nine, you have quite a lot of involvements, there might be 80-90 clips to go through.

"You wouldn't go through them all, but ones where he'd ask, 'why did you do this? Why didn't you try this?' And I'd never even thought of that. It's situations he's been in in the past and you've not yet. Stuff like that is brilliant for me.

"We both spoke about leadership and communication at the start of the season, to start becoming more of a leader on and off the field, setting the standards, and with communication, driving what I want, and the organisation of the defence."

Skills coach Mike Blair at Glasgow Warriors training
Mike Blair works as a skills coach for Warriors and Scotland

After captain Greig Laidlaw suffered an injury during the Six Nations, Price has started eight of the nine Scotland Tests since, and made a replacement appearance in the summer loss to Fiji as part of squad rotation on tour.

"I've got to do what's best for me; I was incredibly happy to sign for another two years here," he told BBC Scotland.

"I love the city, the supporters, the club. The new coaching staff and I get on well. I wanted to stay in Scotland. I still want to work closely with Mike, and I feel at this time in my career this is the best place for me to be. Especially as I want to continue on with the national team.

"The national coaches come in and watch training, so you see them once every other week, and you're managed better than if you were to be at a club outside of Scotland."

'I like a fast, attacking brand'

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend, previously in charge at Scotstoun, wants the national team to "play the fastest rugby in the world".

His successor at Warriors, New Zealander Dave Rennie, encourages a similarly high-tempo brand of attacking rugby.

"Dave's of the same mindset [as Townsend], very much a Kiwi-style way to play the game, which is reasonably new to me," said Price, who has 10 Scotland caps.

"Every opportunity you've got to throw the ball in quickly, take a quick tap, catch the opposition off guard, it's one we should take. It suits the team, the players that are there. I like a fast, attacking brand.

Ali Price stretches to score for Scotland against Australia
Price scored one of eight Scotland tries in a November rout of Australia

"He's a very personable person, a very good man-manager. You could meet him out at a bar and he'd have a chat with you over a beer, as well as the rugby side of things. He's got that quality that not many people or coaches do, where there's work and then he's interested in what you get up to, all that kind of thing."

'We didn't turn up'

Despite Rennie's success in the Pro14 - Glasgow have won all 10 of their league matches to date, scoring more points and conceding fewer than any other team - his side have failed to pick up a point in the European Champions Cup.

Warriors suffered defeat by Exeter Chiefs in the opening round of Pool 3 fixtures, and were then overpowered by Leinster, who top the pool, at Scotstoun.

Glasgow must beat third-placed Montpellier on Friday to remain in contention for the quarter-finals.

Ali Price in action for Glasgow Warriors against Leinster
Glasgow were well beaten at home by Leinster

Montpellier, currently second in the French Top 14, are led by former Scotland boss Vern Cotter, the man who gave Price his first cap against Georgia last November.

"I feel Exeter dominated us through the forwards, their pick-and-go was very effective for them," Price added. "They managed to make easy yards on us.

"To come out of that game with no points was disappointing. The Leinster game, we didn't turn up and that's not good enough from us. We're still in it, just about.

"But what's been pleasing to see is that although Europe went wrong, our form in the league has been pretty awesome, especially when boys have been away [on international duty], other lads continued that momentum.

"A lot of boys know Vern, a lot of coaches know Vern. And Vern knows all of us. It's going to be an exciting game. I've not seen or spoken to him since the end of the Six Nations."

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