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No half measures for Scots in last-chance saloon - Laidlaw

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Greig Laidlaw passes the ball during the Scotland captain's run

Greig Laidlaw passes the ball during the Scotland captain's run

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Greig Laidlaw passes the ball during the Scotland captain's run

IF Scotland are to cause a seismic Murrayfield upset against Ireland, they must alter not merely an historical trend but a contemporary failing.

Scotland have lost four Championship matches in a row and a five-game losing sequence in Edinburgh equals a depressing sequence not witnessed since 1970. Their last try against Ireland was scored 203 minutes ago, by Richie Gray in Dublin three years ago.

This season, as another Wooden Spoon beckons, they have also adopted a familiar trend where much has gone right but much more has gone wrong; like a rower in a seemingly calm ocean, any momentum gained has been all too often blown off course by a sudden gale.

Against France, where the trailed just 9-8 at the break, and latterly against England, where they led 13-10, they failed to score on each occasion after half-time.

Their loss to Italy featured just three second-half points; the 13 second-half points garnered in defeat to Wales seem like a veritable feast in comparison. There can be no half measures this weekend.

Figuring

"I don't think teams are figuring us out after half-time," says captain Greig Laidlaw in defiance of the glaringly obvious trend.

"We're getting to half-time in good position and maybe dropping slightly. Looking back at the weekend, there wasn't enough urgency in the early part of the second half.

"We just let England come at us and come at us. There's only so much you can soak up before cracking and they scored the try. Even at 20-13 I felt we were still at the game.

"Then we'd try to force the offload because we were chasing the game, pushing a couple of kicks through when we maybe should have held it. Split-second decisions cost us.

"We have looked at the performances from early on to later on and we just feel we're getting away from what we're doing well. We've looked at it, because it has to be addressed what's going on there," Laidlaw adds.

"It's just, when the game gets tight, let's not do something else. We're in the game because of what we've been doing and let's stay with that. We moved away slightly at the weekend and I think that's what's put us under pressure."

Irish Independent