Laidlaw emphasises need for fast start

Date published: February 8 2017

Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw has stressed the need for his side to “not muck about” in the first 20 minutes of their match with France.

Incoming Scotland coach Gregor Townsend was his country’s hero when they last won in Paris all the way back in 1999.

Laidlaw and Scotland head to Paris this time around with plenty of confidence having knocked off Ireland on the opening day of the championship last weekend.

And having taken on France in the French capital before, Laidlaw is fully aware of what is required at the Stade de France and also knows what kind of atmosphere to expect, while acknowledging that France have made progress under Guy Nov├Ęs and “can cause anyone problems.”

“The start of the game is massively important when you travel away to France. The first thing you do in the game is psychologically just as important for them as it is for us,” Laidlaw said.

“We need to stay in the game, play in the right areas and not muck about for the first 20 minutes then we’ll put them under pressure and upset their crowd a little bit.

“The Stade de France is a great stadium, it’s open and in terms of real noise you don’t hear it as much as you do at other stadiums.

“Scotland haven’t won in Paris since 1999, it was a long time ago and there’s a reason for that, it’s because France are a good side and it’s a difficult place to go and win.

“We are under no illusions, we need to be on top of our game to get anything out of it.”

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