VETERAN scrum-half Chris Cusiter has played no part in Scotland’s World Cup preparations it has emerged.
The former national skipper, who has 70 caps, was named in Vern Cotter’s extended training pool at the beginning of June but, after the birth of a child, he opted not to travel to the training camp in the French Pyrenees and has not been part of the squad since.
A Scotland team spokesperson said yesterday: “The Scotland national team have respected the wishes of Chris, who requested to be absent during this summer’s Rugby World Cup preparations at BT Murrayfield following the arrival of his first child.
“Chris has continued his pre-season conditioning with his club Sale Sharks and remains available for selection to the national team.”
Four No 9s were named in Cotter’s initial group but the 33-year-old Cusiter looked the most obvious man to miss out on the three berths come the naming of the final 31-man squad behind Six Nations skipper Greig Laidlaw, Guinness Pro12 young player of the year Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Glasgow Warriors’ Henry Pyrgos, who was yesterday named Scotland captain for the first Rugby World Cup warm-up Test against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday evening.
It would seem that trio is now set for next month’s tournament in England, although any injuries could yet open the door for Cusiter.
Pyrgos, meanwhile, will lead the team out at the Aviva Stadium as Cotter’s men face a testing return to action against Six Nations champions Ireland.
Hidalgo-Clyne was the other scrum-half named yesterday in the 25-man squad who will travel for the first of four warm-up matches on consecutive Saturdays
The team to play Ireland on Saturday will be announced tomorrow.