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Chris Cusiter rues World Cup absence but backs Scotland to see off Samoa

Former Scotland captain Chris Cusiter accepts he was not playing well enough to be involved at the World Cup.

The 33-year-old scrum-half, who has 70 Scotland caps, was in the initial 47-man squad for the tournament in England but had dropped out of contention by the time it was trimmed to 31.

Greig Laidlaw, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Henry Pyrgos were all ahead of Cusiter in head coach Vern Cotter's pecking order.

Cusiter said: "I'd love to have been involved, but selection is tough. I am not sure I would make that squad at the moment.

"The guys that have played have done well. There are three really good scrum-halves there who have maybe different strengths. I am excited to see how they go this weekend."

Scotland are bidding to secure a quarter-final place as they take on Samoa in their final Pool B fixture in Newcastle on Saturday.

Cusiter has been watching the tournament as a fan while training with club Sale Sharks ahead of the new Aviva Premiership season and is so far happy with the Scots' performances.

He said: "It has been all right for Scottish supporters so far.

"South Africa was tough at the weekend. Physically they were unbelievable and we didn't really manage to get into the game.

"But Samoa on Saturday is a huge game. Win that and we qualify for the quarter-finals. I think they will, I think they are playing well enough. I think physically they will be able to cope with Samoa a bit better than South Africa.

"So, we'll hopefully get a quarter-final with Wales or Australia, which would be very exciting."

Cusiter was speaking at Sale's Carrington training base at an event for the club's 'MBNA Number Cruncherz' initiative, which sees Sharks players and staff running financial education sessions for school children.

Living in England, Cusiter has also felt the disappointment of the host nation's premature elimination. He feels it is particularly disappointing that England's game against Uruguay in nearby Manchester this weekend is now a dead rubber.

Cusiter said: "My father-in-law is English and he was devastated by both the Wales and Australia results. I think people think it's an anti-climax. It is a shame for this weekend.

"But it was a tough pool and somebody had to go out. They are a good team but they just weren't good enough on the day. That's what it came down to. There's no disgrace losing to those teams."

:: MBNA Number Cruncherz is a financial education programme delivered by Sale Sharks to thousands of schoolchildren in the north west and north Wales.


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