“Ali will have the most touches in the game” – Chris Cusiter
Former Glasgow Warriors and Scotland scrum-half Chris Cusiter is someone who knows what it's like to be involved in a British & Irish Lions tour having been selected in the squad that travelled to New Zealand in 2005.
Jumping forward to the present day, Cusiter has been keeping a close eye on Ali Price, Glasgow’s latest scrum-half to be selected for the famous touring side, and he believes Price will play a pivotal role in Saturday’s decisive test match, with the Series hanging in the balance at one win apiece, against the Springboks.
From his home in the United States, Cusiter told glasgowwarriors.org: “Ali should be very proud of how he has performed. He has played himself into the number one spot as I don't think he would have been there before the tour.
“He has continued his excellent form over the past couple of years onto the biggest stage. I've been really impressed.
“His basics have been spot on. His pass is long, zippy and consistent. He has kicked brilliantly. His decision making has been mature. He has obviously earned [Warren] Gatland's trust and edged himself ahead of the other scrum-halves on the tour.
“[On Saturday] he'll likely either have the most touches in the game or the second most, therefore his performance is hugely important. He doesn't need to do anything flashy though. If he keeps on doing what he's been doing, then he'll do a great job for the team.
“Everyone needs to play well for them to win but if the pack can get them on the front foot then he'll be able to show his best side."
Though they were not in the Glasgow Warriors squad together for long – Price’s debut came in the 2014 season, which was Cusiter’s last before moving south to Sale – Cusiter saw the potential in the young half-back even back then.
He continued: “It's hard to know which of the young guys will come through when they first arrive but Ali always had lots of pace and a great pass. He's just gotten better and better every year. I watched him during the Six Nations and was impressed with how consistent and reliable he was, plus he had some incredible touches which led to tries for Scotland.”
Regardless of the outcome of the Series, there is no doubt being on tour and being selected for all three Test matches will play a big part in Price’s career going forward.
Cusiter said: “[Being selected for the Lions] was the pinnacle of my career. I was only 23 and didn't know at the time that it would be my only tour, but I loved every second of it. I feel extremely proud to have played for the Lions. I didn't make the squad for the Test matches like Ali, but I look back fondly upon it, and it gave me confidence to try to kick on when I got back.
“Ali will come back with a lot of confidence and will have learned a lot from the likes of Conor Murray, Dan Biggar and Owen Farrell. He'll also have an insight into the way those players think and how they like to play, which might help when Scotland play against them in the future.”