Captaincy just step on road to New Zealand for Lawson
Rory Lawson is far from complacent about taking his place in Andy Robinson's 30-man Scotland squad for the World Cup, despite being named as captain for Saturday's match against Ireland.
Scrum-half Lawson takes a 100pc record as skipper into the Murrayfield tussle, following last November's wins over South Africa and Samoa. But with Mike Blair, Chris Cusiter and Edinburgh's Greig Laidlaw, who can also play out-half, vying for the No 9 slots in New Zealand, the Gloucester ace is taking nothing for granted with Robinson preparing to name his final squad on August 22.
"I don't think any member of the squad would be sitting back thinking they're on the plane. If you do, then there's something wrong," said Lawson. "The competition in the squad is better than ever.
"We've got 38 guys who are almost all fully fit now, as a result we've got 38 guys fighting for a spot not only in the 30 or the 22, but in the starting 15.
"Opportunities are at a premium and the competition for the scrum-half berth is massive. I'm being given the first opportunity to start, but I'm aware of the competition.
"It's ruthless and it's a challenge every day to make sure I'm performing well and giving myself the best opportunity.
"Other people make the decisions, but I've got to know I'm performing as best I can to put myself in a strong position."
Scotland's players returned from St Andrews to Edinburgh yesterday for final match preparations.
"The game on Saturday is a huge match for us as a stepping stone towards the World Cup," added Lawson. "It's a full-blown Test match against one of the top teams in the world and we certainly want to put in a good performance after a lot of hard work so far this pre-season.
"I've enjoyed the occasions I've captained Scotland. I don't see my role changing hugely as captain, but certainly leading the team out is something I'm incredibly proud of."