‘I’d swap my 50th cap for a win’ – Laidlaw

Date published: March 10 2016

Scotland skipper Greig Laidlaw has revealed he would trade his 50th test cap for a win against France at Murrayfield on Sunday.

Laidlaw will win his 50th cap when he takes to the field against les Bleus – who Scotland haven’t beaten in 10 years – and draw level with former Scotland loosehead prop David Sole in leading his country for a record 25th time, but the Gloucester scrum-half would rather have the French bow down to his side than celebrate his laudable feats.

“When I step away from the game I will think about it more but right now I would swap my 50th cap for a win if I was given that choice,” Laidlaw told the Daily Record.

“But if I can get my 50th cap and we can win that would be even better.

“I’m excited, looking forward to it, as I am whenever I pull on the jersey. For me to be in the same category as guys like David Sole and Gavin Hastings is a huge honour. They were my idols when I was growing up.

“They had a bit of success in a Scotland jersey and I’d like to emulate that. That’s where we want to go with this team.”

The 30-year-old has been wearing the captaincy armand for for three years and said despite experiencing more lows than highs, he has learned a lot through leading.

“It’s been enjoyable but tough at times. You’re always learning as a captain, as a player and I just want to win as many games as I can in the Scotland jersey in my career,” said Laidlaw.

“You feel the full brunt of it as captain. Speaking after matches is sometimes hard. That’s when you rely on the other leaders around you to help you out.

“On the flip side when you win it’s great to have that feeling as a captain. Ultimately we win and lose together and the players understand that. They are 100 per cent behind me and we feel like we’re going in the right direction.

“I’m more comfortable in the role now. I feel I’ve got the respect of the dressing room now and have developed my relationship with the coaches over a bit of time. Along with some other boys in the team we’re starting to produce a leadership group. We need to take advantage of that and win more games.”

Scotland’s woeful 2016 Six Nations campaign, in which they suffered six successive defeats, was brought to an end when Vern Cotter’s charges beat Italy 36-20 in Rome last week.

“We now have a platform to go higher. It won’t be easy as we’ve seen from Scotland teams in the past,” he added.

“France are a good team. But we truly believe if we are our best we can win this game. If we do that we start to move forward.

“It’s a huge game for us, an absolutely massive game. We’ve beaten Italy but ultimately we’ve not done much. That’s just a starting point. We’re not going to sit back and take a breath, we’re going to move forward.”

Scotland will be without powerhouse centre Matt Scott for the remainder of the Six Nations competition after he damaged his shoulder ligaments, but Laidlaw believes Alex Dunbar is a competent replacement for Scott.

“It’s a big blow because Matty’s a good player. We’ve always said if we’re going to get a winning Scotland team we need competition for places,” said Laidlaw.

“We’re fortunate Alex is back fit. That’s the nature of the beast – if you’re injured somebody else comes in and plays.”