Six Nations

Proud Laidlaw praises Scotland's resolve

2018-02-11 20:34
Greig Laidlaw (Getty Images)

Edinburgh - Greig Laidlaw said he was proud at the manner in which Scotland kept their nerve and came back from 20-14 down at half-time to beat France 32-26 on Sunday.

Laidlaw - who was named man of the match narrowly ahead of France's two try scorer Teddy Thomas - accrued 22 points with the boot as the Scots rebounded brilliantly from last week's humbling by Wales.

Victory, only the hosts' third over the French in the Six Nations, gives the Scots the perfect morale boost ahead of their home clash with defending champions England in a fortnight.

France, who dominated for large parts of the first half, have just two points and will host Italy in Marseille looking for their first win.

"It is hard to describe the joy at winning," Laidlaw, 32, told the BBC.

"Sometimes you have to kick out of respect for their defence.

"I am so proud of the whole team, we really dug in deep and the pack were excellent."

Laidlaw, making his first start for Scotland since last year due to injury, said he was taken by surprise when midway through the second half he was switched to flyhalf and Finn Russell was taken off.

Russell had a curates egg of a match, several times failing to find touch and gain territory for the Scots from penalties.

"That rolled back the years!" Laidlaw joked on returning to flyhalf.

"I was slightly surprised."

Head coach Gregor Townsend said he had been impressed by his side's character in not bowing despite being behind after last weekend's horror show.

"Resilience," said Townsend when asked what had impressed him the most about his side's display.

"The effort required to win a Test match is huge and especially when you do it having been behind for a large part of it.

"There were aspects of our game that weren't working in the first half but we corrected those.

"The forwards had a massive game. We were much better this week.

"France are a very good side, some of the rugby they played in the first half was world class."

In charge of his first Six Nations having replaced Vern Cotter after last year's edition, Townsend said the Laidlaw switch to flyhalf had been discussed.

"Laidlaw to 10 was mentioned during the week," said Townsend.

"He ran a couple of plays there this morning. It was really to see if he could last 80 and bringing on Ali (Price the other scrumhalf) was a positive for the team."

Skipper John Barclay, who went up to collect the inaugural Auld Alliance Trophy named in honour of the 52 French and Scottish rugby men to die in World War I, said he was concerned at the team's slow start.

"We made it hard on ourselves," said the 31-year-old Hong Kong-born flanker.

"We had a poor start again but when there was just six points between us at half-time we thought we could catch them if we kept the ball.

"After losing the first game of just five matches the maths is very simple: we knew we had to come here and do something."

Flyhalf Lionel Beauxis, playing for the first time in a French shirt for six years, pointed to the visitors' 13 penalties given away to just 10 by Scotland.

"What we were missing again was a question of discipline," he told France Televisions.

"We gave away too many easy points."

Captain Guilhem Guirado added that his team has to "wake up quickly" before facing Italy in two weeks.

Read more on:    scotland  |  six nations  |  greig laidlaw  |  rugby
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Friday, 23 February 2018
France v Italy, Stade Velodrome 22:00
Saturday, 24 February 2018
Ireland v Wales, Aviva Stadium 16:15
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Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium 16:15
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