Laidlaw stars as Scotland bounce back to see off France

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David Denton and Blair Kinghorn both come on to the replacements' bench, with the latter set for his worldwide debut.

"Our fans expect us to nowadays, which is great, but we've got a lot of pressure on us as well, so we need to go into the game, be positive and try to play the same as we've been doing at Murrayfield for the a year ago".

Bringing in Horne - Alex Dunbar is still unavailable - not only releases Huw Jones to the outside centre role where he is more effective but also, with Laidlaw, a minder on each side for Finn Russell.

Laidlaw's return is the most significant, with the former captain having not started for the Scots since the corresponding fixture a year ago in Paris because of injuries and his call-up by the British and Irish Lions for the New Zealand tour. Conor O'Shea's side certainly played more attacking rugby than in previous years and were rewarded with two tries and another score which was ruled out for a forward pass.

"I think it can help Finn, it can help the team".

"We've got to learn, it's a different competition".

But it was France, who were unlucky last Saturday against Ireland, that started like a bull at the gate at Murrayfield thanks to the tremendous Teddy Thomas.

"After losing the first game of just five matches the maths is very simple: we knew we had to come here and do something".

"I am so proud of the whole team, we really dug in deep and the pack were excellent".


"It was a brutally physical game against them previous year, there were a lot of collisions". Against Wales, they spread the ball wide and tried intricate moves, but they couldn't make much ground because they didn't have the power players to make busts through the middle.

"If they choose a huge team, then it will be more likely that they want to use route one and be direct".

This will hardly have them dreaming of a first championship of the century, but Scotland are back on track at least.

"We've got to adapt to that". And if that game plan can work against the Australians, it can work against anyone in world record, including, dare we say, Jones' England.

For Scotland, the overriding emotion is putting Cardiff behind them as quickly as possible. That game plan's been working for us for 18 months now, so we've got to stick to what we're good at and just execute a bit better.

Grant Gilchrist replaces Ben Toolis at lock and Ryan Wilson comes in for Cornell du Preez at the back of the scrum.

"You have to be tough to beat and we weren't at the weekend". However Italy's only win in their last 13 matches came against Fiji in November and it is hard to see where their next win in this competition is going to come.

"Of course the players are angry when they see that game, why didn't we do that properly, why didn't we communicate better".

"We, as a coaching group, and especially the players, believe that what we showed at the weekend wasn't a true reflection of what we are capable of and what we have done throughout 2017".

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