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Blair: Skipper will have full support

Head coach Andy Robinson is to name his Scotland captain on Wednesday, with Mike Blair adamant the chosen skipper will receive plenty of support.

Saracens back-rower Kelly Brown has been strongly tipped to be granted the honour having been in line for the role before suffering a broken leg ahead of the RBS 6 Nations, when Edinburgh hooker Ross Ford assumed the leadership.

Blair, who has 83 caps and has led Scotland on 14 occasions, told Press Association Sport: "When you're young you think of playing for Scotland, but the honour of leading a side out first is a massive thing, but it's a massive job as well."

He added: "There's a lot of people watching you, a lot of onus is on how you deal with certain situations, the decisions you make on the pitch as well. Whoever is captain will get a lot of support from guys around them."

Robinson has informed his players of his decision, which will be made public on the final day of the squad's training camp in St Andrews. If Brown is chosen as skipper, he will be Scotland's fifth in two years.

Tests against New Zealand, South Africa and Tonga would be a challenge for a fully-fit and firing Scotland, but there are a host of concerns, not least at prop.

Melrose-born Newcastle Falcons loosehead Grant Shiells joined the squad for the training camp due to injury concerns over three of the four props named in the 34-man squad last week. Ryan Grant suffered a head knock in Glasgow Warriors' match at Treviso at the weekend, while Edinburgh duo Allan Jacobsen (hamstring) and Geoff Cross (concussion) are returning to fitness.

There are a number of injury concerns elsewhere in the squad, with treatment ongoing for locks Jim Hamilton (ribs), Kellock (back) and Richie Gray (ankle), flanker Ross Rennie (shoulder), stand-offs Ruaridh Jackson (shoulder) and Greig Laidlaw (neck), centre Nick De Luca (ankle) and wing/centre Sean Lamont (facial).

"We are aware of the quality of the opposition we're going to be coming up against and there's no doubt that we need to be at our absolute best to be able to take these guys on," Blair added.

"It's a results game. There's only so long you can talk about potential and playing well in games, but not quite doing enough. We were very positive with how things went in the summer. All three games were close games and we came out on top."


From Belfast Telegraph