Scotland scrum-half Chris Cusiter is determined to reclaim his place in the starting XV after winning his fitness battle to make the Rugby World Cup squad.
The 29-year-old Glasgow Warriors scrum-half has endured a torrid time with injuries, his appearance as a replacement in Saturday's win over Italy ending a 17-month enforced absence from the Test arena. Now he hopes to climb above Rory Lawson and Mike Blair and into Scotland head coach Andy Robinson's starting XV for the Pool B opener with Romania in Invercargill on September 10.
Cusiter told Press Association Sport: "The three of us have been rivals for six or seven years now. I don't know what's going to happen, but I'm confident in my ability. It's about proving ourselves in training and stating our case."
He added: "Obviously only two guys are going to get in the squad out of three and one guy's going to start.
"I was on the bench in the last World Cup and I'd rather not be in that situation this time. There's a bit of time now to keep working hard and put myself in a good position to try and get the number nine."
Prior to the Italy clash, Cusiter's most recent previous cap had been during the RBS 6 Nations win over Ireland in Dublin in March 2010.
He won his 53rd cap at Murrayfield on Saturday following a long battle with a fractured kneecap and, more recently, a calf strain which hampered his training.
He added: "There was a lot of time in the summer when I still had this niggling injury which wouldn't go away and I was running out of time to prove my fitness.
"I probably had about two weeks of running and rugby under my belt before the Italy game, which was enough. I did miss a little bit at the start, but I did a lot of work with the fitness trainers to make sure I was still in good condition.
"Having been involved on Saturday and getting 20 minutes off the bench I feel great and really optimistic about what lies ahead."