Laidlaw backs Scotland to cope with weather conditions against Ireland

Greig Laidlaw has warned Ireland to expect a storm at Murrayfield as Scotland look to blow away their Guinness Six Nations title dreams.

Joe Schmidt’s men were undone by England’s brute force in Dublin last week.

But the weather could be the deciding factor as they head to Edinburgh for Saturday’s potentially do-or-die showdown.

The Scottish capital is set to be buffeted by winds approaching 50 miles per hour, with heavy rain due to lash down too.

Laidlaw is confident the Dark Blues will be able to handle the conditions better than their rivals, who know a defeat will wash away any hopes of clinging onto their Championship crown.

The Clermont Auvergne scrum-half said: “I think it’s good for us being at home when the weather is like this.

“The way the wind is at Murrayfield, sometimes it can be pretty tricky.

“Hopefully our experience of playing here a little bit more than the Irish boys, we can use that to our advantage.

“If it comes in like it’s meant to, it’s difficult – certainly more difficult for your nines and 10s trying to judge your passing game, your kicking game, everything really.

“Could the weather be the narrative of the game? Potentially, yeah. Everybody knows the way Scotland want to play the game.

“We won’t really deviate from that, but we’ve got to be smart and pick the times when we play, so we will get a gauge on the weather when we arrive tomorrow and set a game plan for that.”

Ireland lifted the Six Nations title last year with a Grand Slam triumph (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The Irish came into the tournament ranked second in the world and odds-on favourites to reclaim the crown they clinched with last year’s Grand Slam.

However, the defeat to Eddie Jones’ England last week has blown the competition wide open and Laidlaw admits his side can demonstrate their own title credentials by heaping more misery on Schmidt’s team.

He said: “If we want to go on and take the next step, it’s games like this we need to win against quality opposition.

“Ireland are certainly that, they’ve proved that over the last couple of years in the competition and are one of the best teams in the world.

“We have a lot of respect for them and if we want to win tomorrow we’ll need to play one of our best games.”

(PA Graphics)

Scotland have proved troublesome opponents for the Irish, most recently two years ago when they held on for a 27-22 victory.

They could have backed up that triumph at the Aviva 12 months ago but let the hosts off the hook with a series of glaring missed openings.

But Laidlaw says lessons have been learned from both recent encounters.

“We’ve looked back at 2017 at little bit but ultimately we’ve got to look forward,” he said. “It’s a new game and a clean slate.

“We can take a few learnings from last year over there where we missed a few opportunities to score.

“Against a quality team like Ireland you have to take your opportunities.

“I’m sure they were disappointed to lose at home last week. But that’s not our worry. Ours is about ourselves, our record here at home that we’re extremely proud of. We want to build on it.

“It’s very important we play our own game and try not to worry about copying what England did. Last week’s game is gone.

“We feel we can cause any team in the world problems with our attacking game and plan to do that tomorrow.

“We want a strong defensive performance as well. We were disappointed with the way we finished the game last week against Italy, conceding those three late tries.

“There’s no way we can have a last 15 to 20 minutes like that against Ireland.”

- Press Association

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