Six Nations 2015: Scotland can cause teams problems – Laidlaw
Scotland captain believes they are capable of building on their impressive autumn campaign if they play to their strengths
Greig Laidlaw insists Scotland have the ability to cause problems for other teams during the Six Nations.
The Gloucester Rugby scrum-half believes winning the championship is their ultimate ambition and is within their reach if they play to their strengths.
Ultimately, we’re trying to push on and win the Six Nations like every other country is, so we just need to keep working hard, do the basics well.
The key messages coming out of BT Murrayfield centre around the desire for Scotland to develop and improve on their successful autumn campaign that yielded multi-try wins over Argentina and Tonga, and saw Vern Cotter’s side push the All Blacks in a narrow defeat.
But Scotland haven’t come close to winning the title in the Six Nations era, with their last success coming in the last outing of the Five Nations in 1999, the year current Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend became in the second Scottish player to score a try in all four matches.
Despite that, the indications are there that the Dark Blues are on the up under Kiwi head coach Cotter.
“There’s a great buzz, partly off the back of the autumn,” Laidlaw said.
“Coming back into camp, I was really excited to get back in and start training and improve again.
“Ultimately, we’re trying to push on and win the Six Nations like every other country is.
“We just need to keep working hard, do the basics well and, if we do that, I believe we have some individuals in our team to cause other teams problems.
“[Patriotism] is big in the Scotland camp. We talk a lot about pulling on the blue jersey and playing with a real pride and if we can get that, a lot of the times it comes down to that, a bit of blood and guts, rolling down your sleeves and getting stuck in.
“We want to epitomise that this season in the Six Nations, people will really see that come through in the Scotland jersey.”
Much of Scotland’s recent success and try-scoring prowess has been attributed to the number of young Glasgow Warriors players in the team while many of the old guard, including Scott, Lawson, Kelly Brown, John Barclay, Max Evans and Nick de Luca have been axed.
There’s a real buzz, a real desire for us to play well in this blue jersey and make a statement and play for each other.
The Warriors have been in superb form under Townsend, reaching the Guinness PRO12 final in May and narrowly missing out on the European Champions Cup quarter-finals earlier this month, but they continue to be in contention for the PRO12 play-offs this season.
Edinburgh’s blend of experienced Scotland internationals, talented local youngsters and southern hemisphere imports has also helped them to build a run of form to reclaim the 1872 Cup and reach the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals with three of the four uncapped players in Cotter’s latest squad among Edinburgh’s best performers this season.
And Laidlaw, who left the Scottish capital to join Gloucester in the Aviva Premiership last summer, believes Scotland can can flourish if they build on their strengths as a team, but they are not getting carried away with the excitement surrounding the team.
“Our feet are firmly on the ground,” he added.
“We’ve got a tough start away to France and a massive game second week in [against Wales] back at home.
“There’s a real sense of pride within this group. We need to create [a better team bond]. It’s something we’ve touched on slightly.
“If you can become a very tight-knit group and you start playing for each other, the boys know each other pretty well, so we can turn that into a strength for sure.
“We need to play as a team and that’s where our strength is going to lie.
“There are individuals who have scored a lot of tries, but through different plays – some are tight, some are more wide.
“Tommy Seymour has been in form and scores tries. Stuart Hogg’s dangerous. Jonny Gray has been very good in the autumn and has been playing well for Glasgow, so we’d like to think that throughout the squad we’ve got players who can come in and out, it doesn’t really weaken the side and that’s true of some of young players who have come in as well.
“Rightly so, [the Glasgow Warriors players] come in with a lot of confidence; they’ve been playing really well in the PRO12.
“They also played really well in the Champions Cup and were unfortunate to get knocked out, so there’s a real buzz, a real desire for us to play well in this blue jersey and make a statement and play for each other.”