Laidlaw recalled to Scotland side for France clash


The introduction of Ryan Wilson will help in this department and Huw Jones may find more space now he has moved out to 13, but can their tight-five forwards also punch holes in this French defence? Well, not very often anyway.

Laidlaw, returning to the Scotland nearly exactly a year after injury against France in Paris, is a vice captain as John Barclay retains the lead job.

"The responsibility for last week lies with the coaches and myself", said the head coach, who has made six changes to the team which will take on Jacques Brunel's side.

If one man deserves most credit for the win, however, it has to be Laidlaw himself.

Having said that, the team as a whole displayed serious strength of character to recover from such a dispiriting start.

There is a perception that Scotland will lose something in the scrum - a French strength - with Berghan starting instead of Jon Welsh, despite the Edinburgh prop's more dynamic presence about the field. "We knew we had to put in a performance after last week". Scotland on the other hand fell well short of expectations in Cardiff. With barely three minutes played there seemed to be no immediate danger when a loose pass from Geoffrey Doumayrou missed his fellow-centre Remi Lamerat and bounced out to the right wing. Laidlaw came across to cover but a wicked bounce fooled the scrumhalf, allowing Thomas to collect and score.

Scotland had the momentum and took the lead with ten minutes to go as the French exhausted, scoring again thanks to Laidlaw's reliable right boot.

"We underperformed - it happens every now and again".

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

Ball-carriers - For all the flair in this Scotland side, they lack big ball-carriers to get over the gain-line.

"He's back in form and it's a credit to him it is so quickly (after injury)".

Experienced Irish official John Lacey takes charge of this match and is assisted by Nigel Owens (Wales) and Paul Williams (New Zealand). Scotland began it far more purposefully, and a barging run culminated in their being awarded a penalty, which Laidlaw stroked over from 25 metres.

Early in the second half, it looked as though Scotland were on the ropes as France powered through their half, building up over 20 phases in a relentless attack.

A scrappy start to the second half saw penalties exchanged, but Scotland eventually got level with their third penalty of the half through Laidlaw.

It soon began to pay off as France were pressed back deep inside their own half.

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"It is a few years since we turned them over, so hopefully we can get them this time", Laidlaw added.

He is an important player for Scotland given that he was captain for a long time.

Scotland have won seven of their last eight home games in all competitions and must throw themselves unequivocally into this encounter.

Hogg, Seymour, H. Jones, Horne, Maitland, Russell, Laidlaw; Reid, McInally, Berghan, Gilchrist, J. Gray, Barclay (captain), Watson, Wilson. Subs: S Lawson, J Bhatti, J Welsh, B Toolis, D Denton, A Price, C Harris, B Kinghorn.