Laid­law warns Dark Blues still have plenty of work to do even af­ter beat­ing Samoa

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - SPORT -

Greig Laid­law ad­mits Scot­land are not out of the woods just yet de­spite kick­start­ing their World Cup cam­paign against Samoa.

The Dark Blues thrashed the Pa­cific Is­lan­ders 34-0 on Mon­day to pick up the bonus point that keeps them in the race for the quar­ter-fi­nals.

But with Gre­gor Townsend’s men need­ing two wins and at least one bonus point from their last two games against Rus­sia and Ja­pan, vice-cap­tain Laid­law knows there is still much work to be done yet.

It is 20 years since a Scot­land side last recorded three straight wins in a sin­gle com­pe­ti­tion and equalling that feat will not be easy.

Rus­sia, who are the op­po­si­tion next Wed­nes­day, may cur­rently be ranked 20th in the world and sit bot­tom of Pool A with­out a point af­ter los­ing both their open­ing two games against the hosts and Samoa, but they have proved to be tricky cus­tomers to over­come.

And the Scots need no warn­ing about the threat posed by the Ja­pa­nese af­ter see­ing the Brave Blos­soms stun an Ire­land side who have al­ready dished out a pain­ful maul­ing to Townsend’s team in their first match in Yoko­hama.

Cler­mont Au­vergne scrum-half Laid­law said: “We knew the cir­cum­stances and that if we didn’t per­form against Samoa we were pack­ing our bags and go­ing home.

“That was the pleas­ing part in the way we per­formed. But we have to step it up again now. We are still in the same sit­u­a­tion where we need to win ev­ery game. The Samoa game is done now, it is all about the next game.

“Rus­sia have been good so far in this tour­na­ment. Ev­ery­one has been im­pressed by them and so have we. That pa­tience is go­ing to be vi­tally im­por­tant for the boys that are se­lected in the 23.

“Who­ever gets the op­por­tu­nity, it is go­ing to be vi­tally im­por­tant to get that per­for­mance right and give us mo­men­tum go­ing into the last game.”

But Laid­law is de­lighted to see the doom and gloom of last week lift af­ter his side shrugged off the mis­ery left by their woe­ful dis­play against the Ir­ish.

“We feel a bit bet­ter, ob­vi­ously,” he said.

“Mon­day was a big game for us, as ev­ery game is now, and it was ex­cel­lent we came through that in the man­ner we did. We can take a lot of con­fi­dence from the way we per­formed and how we con­structed the game.

“It was def­i­nitely up there in terms of com­plete per­for­mances.

“Each game is go­ing to be dif­fer­ent. Rus­sia have been im­pres­sive so far so we have got to get that game right.

“Their set-piece has been ex­cel­lent. Their scrum­mag­ing, they are ob­vi­ously strong there.

“They’ve come to en­joy them­selves and play rugby and that’s re­ally shone through in their per­for­mances.

“I thought they played re­ally well against Samoa so we’re go­ing to have to play well to get the right re­sult.”

Laid­law has started both of Scot­land’s first two games but with only four days’ re­cov­ery time be­tween the clash with Rus­sia and Ja­pan, he is likely to be stood down for the first of those dates in Shizuoka.

How­ever, the for­mer cap­tain reck­ons there will be plenty of will­ing vol­un­teers ready to play in both matches if Townsend de­cides he can­not take any chances with his team line-up.

“You’re go­ing to be tired if that is the case,” he said.

“But we’ve got an ex­cel­lent squad here and it’s go­ing to take a squad ef­fort for us to get the two strong per­for­mances we need to get through.

“We’ve got boys that are hun­gry to play.”

Greig Laid­law

Gre­gor Townsend

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