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Scotland coach Blair says 'it would be silly' not to recall John Hardie after ban
The Edinburgh flanker was suspended for three months for alleged cocaine use.

SCOTLAND ASSISTANT COACH Mike Blair says it was a straightforward call to include flanker John Hardie in the country’s Six Nations training squad this week.

Edinburgh handed their openside a three-month ban in October for ‘gross misconduct’ with widespread reports indicating Hardie’s offence was cocaine use.

Hardie returned to action for Edinburgh last month after an SRU investigation and Blair says it would have been silly to omit the Kiwi-born back row, whatever the circumstances of his ban:

“He’s a fantastic player. He has a good pedigree and a good history playing with Scotland,” said the former scrum-half.

“When you have player like that available, it would be silly not to have him on board.

He’s had his time off. He’s been helped through that and now he can focus on his rugby.”

Hardie is one of a handful of players welcomed back into the group by Gregor Townsend this week with Richie Gray, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson, Alex Dunbar and George Horne helping to swell the training squad to 40.

“It is a boost. It increases the competition we’ve had,” says Blair.

“It makes for interesting selection meetings when you have guys coming back who are up against guys who are in form at the moment.”

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