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Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw staying calm after England defeat

Published 09/02/2016

Scotland's Greig Laidlaw believes his side can still get better
Scotland's Greig Laidlaw believes his side can still get better

Scotland skipper Greig Laidlaw insists the Dark Blues have not fallen into panic mode despite their latest RBS 6 Nations defeat.

Vern Cotter's side suffered their eighth successive loss when they were beaten 15-9 by England at Murrayfield on Saturday in this year's Championship opener.

It is the Scots' worst run since the tournament was expanded to become a six-team affair in 2000 and the latest disappointment has doused some of the pre-tournament hope built up after last year's encouraging World Cup display.

But a feisty Laidlaw snapped back at suggestions that, even with the improvements made under New Zealander Cotter in the last two years, Scotland had failed to close the gap on their rivals.

"It's a difficult question to answer," he said ahead of Saturday's trip to Wales. "It's going to come down to us progressing in this tournament.

"I can see already that you guys [the media] are writing us off, which we will just keep in house.

"We're not going to panic. We're one game into the tournament and we believe we will be fine."

While Saturday's defeat was a blow to Laidlaw's men, it was nowhere near as bad as the 20-0 drubbing dished out by the Auld Enemy in Edinburgh two years ago.

The progress since then was clear to see as they held their own at the scrum and even had England scrambling inside their own five-metre line towards the end of the first half and just seconds into the second period as they pushed for a breakthrough.

But as has been the case all too often in the past, the Scots' attack crumbled at the crucial moment and England were able to escape, eventually winning thanks to tries from George Kruis and Jack Nowell.

"We're disappointed," reflected Laidlaw. "No-one feels it more than the players.

"Has the disappointment left the group? No. We were just a little bit short on Saturday. The first week of the Six Nations is always tough.

"For Scotland to win games we need to be at our best. We were when we won games during the World Cup.

"There is still confidence in the group and we believe we can do so much better."

Laidlaw led a candid debrief on Monday but he feels his side can bounce back against Wales in Cardiff.

"We are all honest men in there and we're honest enough to take things on the chin," he said. "The boys have reacted well and that's all you can ask.

"This next game is absolutely massive for us. There's no doubt Cardiff is a tough place to play rugby but it's a great place to play. We need to enjoy it and get stuck in.

"We'll have to improve. We conceded two soft tries on Saturday. Our defence was solid apart from that. We also coughed up a few balls going forward. If we can tighten up a few little things, it'll go a long way."

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