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Scotland coach Scott Johnson admits 'it will be hard to replace Mike Blair'

Last Updated: 09/01/13 7:31pm

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Scott Johnson at Murrayfield

Scott Johnson at Murrayfield

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Interim Scotland coach Scott Johnson is yet to decide who will replace scrum-half Mike Blair, who earlier this week announced his retirement from international rugby.

Johnson recently took charge of the national side, following the resignation of Andy Robinson last year, and has less than one month to make his decision ahead of Scotland's opening 2013 Six Nations clash against England on February 2.

And he admits filling the gap vacated by Blair, who collected 85 caps for Scotland, will be tough.

He said: "When you lose a bloke with 80-odd caps, it is not easy to replace him. But if Mike thought it was the right decision to retire, it was the right decision.

"It causes us a bit of grief but the reality is that we have to move on now. We have to find out who that next player is for the number nine jersey.

"He was a wonderful rugby player, a great bloke and great leader. He's now gone. It won't be easy but it's up to us to replace him."

Those in the frame are Greig Laidlaw, Chris Cusiter and Henry Pyrgos.

Cusiter is still recovering from a shoulder injury while 23-year-old Pyrgos has just three caps to his name.

Johnson added: "Greig will be there or thereabouts but there are others too. We are waiting on the injury update on Cus and we will see how Henry Pyrgos is and the form of others as well."

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