Cusiter keen to take his chance

By Steve Bramley.   Last Updated: 17/11/06 4:16pm

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Chris Cusiter says he's determined to keep the pressure on scrum-half rival Mike Blair for Scotland's number nine shirt.

The 24-year-old has been competing with Blair for the position since Bryan Redpath retired from the international arena following the 2003 World Cup.

Cusiter looked on as his Edinburgh rival shone in the 48-6 win over Romania last weekend.

But, after being selected by coach Frank Hadden for the visit of the Pacific Islanders to Murrayfield on Saturday, Cusiter is in no mood to give up the position ahead of next year's World Cup.

Cusiter said: "Hopefully, I can put a bit more pressure on Mike this year, and, maybe, get a few more starts.

"Mike played well on Saturday. He is a good player and I suppose it does push you on.

"But I was on the bench all last year and that is not really where I want to be. It is tough for both of us."

Cusiter was not helped by a shoulder injury suffered in the final Six Nations clash with Italy, which ruled him out of the summer Tests in South Africa.

Now the Borders man is determined to make Hadden's job that little bit more difficult.

Cusiter said: "I have been pleased with my form for the Borders this year, but I hear Mike has been playing well for Edinburgh too. So it is difficult.

"But you would have to ask Frank who he thinks is doing better.

"The Pacific Islanders should be a good test for the team, and give us a chance to see where we are as a team.

"And the loose type of rugby they play should mean I get a bit of space to show what I can do.

"It is a big opportunity for me and I can't wait to have a go," he added.