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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 February 2006, 18:44 GMT
Chris Cusiter Q&A

Chris Cusiter
Scotland scrum-half

Hundreds of you sent in questions for Chris Cusiter, our BBC Sport pundit inside the Scotland camp.

Here are a selection of some of them, with more answers to come as each week of the RBS Six Nations progresses.

Q: Do you think this is Scotland's best chance to beat England for a few years? The win in 2000 was huge, but I don't think many people expected it.
George Henderson, Bettyhill, Sutherland

England were going for the Grand Slam in 2000, while Scotland had lost every game, so I think the English came into it a bit complacent. Scotland were the complete underdogs, but it is a bit different this time as we beat the French at Murrayfield, so there's a bit of expectation from the fans, while England will be expecting a tough game. But I would rather people thought we had a chance, because, if they didn't, it might mean we didn't have a chance.

Q: Do you think we can contain the English backs in the same way that we managed to slow down the French? Can we expect our backs to run at them or will we be in for more ruck & run and mauling tactics from our forwards?
Innes Kirkwood, Melbourne, Australia

We have to look at the way Italy defended against England as an example of the way to stop their backs and also follow on from the way we played against the French. The Italians did not miss many tackles and did not give the English much space and didn't allow themselves to be bullied. It will need a massive, massive effort, but we have big guys of our own who can contain the English.

Q: How do you think our front row will do against the English front row as they have a pretty heavy pack?
Amanda, Kilsyth

The English front row is one of their strengths, but we have some pretty big guys too. France have one of the best scrummages in the world and yet we held our own.

Q: It was a good game against Wales, but what can the team do to reduce the amount of penalties they give away?
Sarah Cleary, Dorset

The best advice is not to do stupid things in front of the referee. The key thing is to be street-wise.

Q: Is there any international team in particular that you really look forward to playing? And are there particular players that really bring out the best in your abilities, either within the Scotland squad or on the opposing team?
Jetta McGill, New York

England is the short answer to the first question. I think that every Scotsman's ultimate dream is to beat the English, especially as they are such a good team and have achieved quite a bit. I don't have any particular players I like to play with. We are a pretty close-knit group and it is good to play with your mates - and beat the players you know well too.

Q: If you could play alongside any outside half, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Lewis Egal, Caerphilly

I enjoy playing alongside Gregor Townsend at the Borders, but my biggest dream would be to play alongside my dad, Stan. He played for Gordonians and the North and Midlands and has been a massive influence on my career.

Q: How hard is it to adhere to the dietary needs of professional rugby? Can players have an odd beer or occasionally eat stuff like sausages and chips?
Frank Wharton, Limerick

I've never found it that hard to adapt my diet as I've always eaten healthily. If you do things in moderation and keep your diet balanced, you can't go far wrong. And, yes, there's always room for an odd pint or bar of chocolate.

Q: Chris, who is the biggest joker in the Scotland squad?
Harry Guy, Woking

It has to be Dan Parks. He's always talking nonsense, whether playing table-tennis or at training. He's a big joker and I find him quite amusing.

  • Read Chris's verdict on Scotland v England this weekend - and more answers to your questions next week.

    Chris Cusiter column
    12 Feb 06 |  Six Nations
    Chris Cusiter column
    05 Feb 06 |  Six Nations
    Chris Cusiter Q&A
    03 Feb 06 |  Six Nations


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