Tuesday 24 April 2018

Laidlaw blocks out noise as Scotland eye top prizes

Scotland's Greig Laidlaw. Photo: PA
Scotland's Greig Laidlaw. Photo: PA

Greig Laidlaw had to turn a deaf ear to the Italian tannoy blast to ensure Scotland's Six Nations did not end on a sour note.

The scrum-half was lining up his crucial last-gasp penalty in Rome when an announcement came from the Stadio Olimpico PA system. But the unwelcome broadcast did not put off the Clermont Auvergne man as he slotted his kick to clinch a 29-27 win.

That precious kick handed the Scots their first away win in the Championship for two years and Laidlaw insisted there was no chance he would let himself be distracted by outside factors.

"Yeah that kick at the end is up there with the best I've hit," said the former skipper.

"But I've already said to the boys I'd prefer they don't get us in that situation again as I don't want to have to kick too many of them.

"Somebody mentioned the tannoy announcement but I wasn't aware. There is always noise and it's part of being a goal-kicker that you have to block noise out.

"It's all about technique. If you can hold that and back yourself then thankfully like yesterday they go over."

Gregor Townsend was heaped with praise for the way his side evolved during the autumn Tests into one of the most thrilling attacking forces in world rugby.

But the Dark Blues had to rely on their forwards to grind down the hosts in Rome as Conor O'Shea's plucky Azzurri outfit desperately sought to avoid a record-equalling 17th straight tournament defeat.

The Scots end the Six Nations having picked up victories over France, England and Italy but defeats to Wales and Ireland remain sore points.

Laidlaw's assessment of his side's campaign is 'good - but can do better'.

He said: "We want to win the championship so we need to improve. But we've won three games this time. We've beaten a French team who are improving. We've beaten a very good England side and a good Italian team.

"We put in a good performance against Ireland but the result was against us so we need to learn from that."

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