Laidlaw wants compassion for Scots

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Published: Wednesday 11th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Scotland skipper Greig Laidlaw plans to grill referee Glen Jackson ahead of Sunday’s clash with Wales in a bid to avoid a repeat of the penalty problems which dogged his side in Paris.

The Scots lost their opening RBS 6 Nations clash with France on Saturday 15-8 after gifting Camille Lopez a string of kicking chances in the Stade de France.

The Dark Blues will now hope to re-ignite their championship campaign when they host Warren Gatland’s men at Murrayfield, where they know any indiscretions will give Dragons kicker Leigh Halfpenny the chance to ruin their ambitions.

But Laidlaw will quiz New Zealander Jackson ahead of the game on just how far he will let both sides go at the breakdown and set-piece before pointing to the posts.

He said: “T here was a couple of things that went wrong with the penalty decisions in Paris. We got caught in a ruck sometimes and the referee gave them a penalty.

“Some of their decisions were debatable, some of them were tough. Some of them he gives, some of them are 50/50.

“As the game went on France were able to chip away at us and that cost us the game. So looking ahead to this weekend we’ll speak to the referee before the game and get his interpretations, make sure we’re on the right wavelength and hopefully I can talk him round if needed.

“But we will just try to be squeaky clean while we can – the best way to deal with it is not give the referee a decision to make.”

The Scots will have one less problem to worry about ahead of Sunday’s match after British and Irish Lion George North was ruled out following his double head knock in last Friday’s defeat to England.

But with Wales also looking to bounce back from a painful weekend blow, Gloucester scrum-half Laidlaw is still wary.

Scotland know only too well about Wales’ ability to attack from all over after suffering their heaviest ever Six Nations defeat in last year’s 51-3 mauling in Cardiff.

And the captain said: “They’ve brought in Liam Williams to replace North and he’s a very good player in his own right, so they’re strong across the board.

“Liam’s form in the Pro12 for Scarlets has been fantastic. He’s a good player and has a similar sort of stature to North so not much will change in their game plan.

“It’s very important that we get a result. Coming back here to Murrayfield, if we want to do anything in this competition we need to win this weekend. Everybody’s 100 per cent focused on that. The last time we played Wales, we were on the wrong end of a thumping so really that’s the focus of our minds this weekend. We need to turn that around and get across the line for a Scottish win.

“T hat defeat last year was a painful day for all involved but we’ll use some of that emotion when we take the field. It was a bad day for all in a Scotland jersey so we’ll need to right a few wrongs.”

Scotland suffered in last year’s contest as a parasitic infection churned up the Murrayfield pitch.

A new £1million surface was laid during the summer but a few bare patches have already been spotted.

But goal-kicker Laidlaw insists the grass is much greener than it was 12 months ago, saying: “The pitch is brilliant for this time of year for this part of the world. There are a couple of bare spots here and there but it’s night and day to how it was under foot.”

Published: Wednesday 11th February 2015 by The News Editor

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