Scotland's Henry Pyrgos insists he is ready to step up and become the long-term heir to recently-retired scrum-half Mike Blair.
The 23-year-old Glasgow player featured for just six minutes in last Saturday's Six Nations opening-day defeat to England as Edinburgh's Greig Laidlaw was preferred by head coach Scott Johnson.
Laidlaw, who flitted between number nine and stand-off for much of the last year, has been selected to start again in this Saturday's match against Italy but that has not prevented Pyrgos pressing his claim.
"I'm just trying to push Greig all the way," said Pyrgos. "He's a really good player but I also have Sean Kennedy coming up behind me from the A squad, so there's a lot of competition in that position. I'm just working to try to improve and get better and make it a hard decision for the coaches.
"Mike was an awesome player for us. He was a Lion and a really great guy as well. He had an amazing career and it was sad that he wanted to retire.
"But it has opened up an opportunity for me. Hopefully I can take that and make a point to the coaches that I am good enough to replace him."
Italy visit Murrayfield this Saturday on a high after claiming a shock opening weekend win over France.
Last year, Scotland fell to a 13-6 loss in Rome and Pyrgos is not surprised to see the Italians doing well 12 months on.
"It's an amazing tournament and seeing that result on Sunday, I thought it was great for the Six Nations. They did that to us last year and it's no surprise to see them playing well again.
"We have played against some of their guys in the RaboDirect Pro12 and it's going to be a huge contest this weekend. That result against France has made it even more so."