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Page last updated at 00:37 GMT, Thursday, 12 November 2009

Cusiter not fazed by captaincy

Scotland v Fiji, autumn Test
Venue: Murrayfield Date: Saturday 14 November Kick-off: 1430 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One Scotland from 1400 GMT, BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Sport website

The Scottish Rockettes jump for joy at an image of Chris Cusiter
Cusiter is hoping to have Scottish fans jumping for joy on Saturday

Chris Cusiter has no fears about leading out Scotland for the first time on Saturday - as being on the bench is as nerve-wracking as it gets.

The scrum-half will captain his country against Fiji at Murrayfield.

"To be honest, being on the bench is probably more nerve-wracking than starting a game," said Cusiter, chosen ahead of joint captain Mike Blair.

"Because you don't know when you're going to be on, you don't know how long you're going to get."

Coming off the bench has been the story of Cusiter's Test career for the past two years, with Blair's stranglehold on the armband guaranteeing his own place in the team.

But new national coach Andy Robinson's decision to appoint the pair joint captains for the autumn internationals has reignited a battle for the number nine jersey that dates back several years.

"It's not the end of the world being on the bench; it's still an honour to be in the Scotland squad," said 27-year-old Cusiter.

"But all the players want to start the games and I'm no different."

I've been around a wee while and I've learnt little bits from different captains that I've had

Scotland captain Chris Cusiter

That is something Cusiter has not done since the World Cup, with his last 10 appearances all coming as a replacement.

So it was perhaps no surprise that he appeared happier to be a starter than a skipper.

Asked if leading out Scotland would be the proudest moment of his career, the Glasgow Warriors player said: "Possibly, I hadn't thought of it like that.

"It's certainly one of the biggest moments of my rugby career to date.

"I've been around a few years, but captaining Scotland is such a huge honour that it's going to be emotional and I'm pretty excited about it."

Cusiter had not sought much advice from Blair about being captain and appears determined to do it his own way.

"I've been around a wee while and I've learnt little bits from different captains that I've had," he said.

"The best captains that I've played under are the ones that lead by example and it's not so much about shouting or headbanging, it's about being a calm voice of authority when it's needed and getting on with your job, and that's what I intend to do."

Cusiter, who captained the A side to the IRB Nations Cup in Romania this summer, was at pains to present a united front with Blair.

"We've known each other for a good seven years now and we've been rivals," he said.

"But, when we get off the training pitch, or the playing pitch, we get on. It's a friendly rivalry and he's a good guy."

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see also
Lamont brothers relishing recall
11 Nov 09 |  Scottish
Cusiter leads Scots against Fiji
09 Nov 09 |  Scottish
New era dawns for Scots
09 Nov 09 |  Scottish
Scots duo relish shared captaincy
06 Nov 09 |  Scottish
Paterson back training with Scots
04 Nov 09 |  Scottish
Blair and Cusiter share captaincy
02 Nov 09 |  Scottish

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