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Page last updated at 20:41 GMT, Friday, 6 November 2009

Scots duo relish shared captaincy

Cusiter and Blair discuss dual captaincy

Mike Blair and Chris Cusiter insist that their dual captaincy can benefit Scotland in the autumn Tests.

The scrum-halves will vie for the right to wear the armband but be jointly responsible for team leadership.

"It's a unique situation but we feel we can make the best out of it," Cusiter told BBC Scotland.

Blair added: "Only one of us can be out there as captain but we'll each support the other guy and hope that this will make for a winning Scotland team."

Ahead of this week's squad gathering in St Andrews, Scotland head coach Andy Robinson announced the shared captaincy for November matches against Fiji, Australia and Argentina at Murrayfield.

However, Cusiter revealed that the news was no surprise to him.

"Andy phoned me a while back and first mooted the idea and we talked it over," said the Glasgow skipper.

With this system, we'll both have opportunities and we'll both be supporting each other

Chris Cusiter

"We went out for dinner, the three of us, and had a chat about it. We decided that was the way it was going to go.

"This week was the first time we had to deal with it practically. It's been good so far and I think it will be productive in the future."

Blair has been leading the side since he replaced Jason White as Scotland captain for the 2008 Six Nations match against Ireland.

"It's something new, something different, so there will definitely be a feeling out phase to start with but it's really exciting," explained the Edinburgh captain.

"There's a mutual respect between us. We've both been on the Scotland scene for six or seven years now.

"I'm a real fan of the way Chris plays. He leads by example and that will be important going into the autumn internationals.

"Andy is big on leadership and we have leaders in different areas. There's a kind of hierarchy, with Chris and I at the top, then we have leaders of line-outs, leaders of defence, leaders of attack and there's a great group of people around us."

Blair's words of praise were reciprocated, with Cusiter eager to repay the compliments.


"Mike has huge experience and he's a great player," he added. "Being on the bench over the last couple of years was tough but when it's behind a player like Mike that made it a little easier to take.

"We both want to be playing and that's where the competition comes in.

"With this system, we'll both have opportunities and we'll both be supporting each other.

"Mike has captained Scotland before but for me the whole thing is a new experience.

"The rest of the squad have bought into it, as we have, and that's hugely important.

"We will both know the tactics and the game-plan like the backs of our hands and we will have been involved in all the decision-making processes, so bringing one guy on for the other shouldn't affect the tactical side of the game.

"It's a fresh set of legs and in international rugby 60 minutes is a tough shift."

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see also
Paterson back training with Scots
04 Nov 09 |  Scottish
Blair and Cusiter share captaincy
02 Nov 09 |  Scottish

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