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Greig Laidlaw happy as Scotland make autumn statement with six-try Georgia win

Scotland skipper Greig Laidlaw reckons Scotland deserve pass marks after rounding off their autumn series with a six-try romp against Georgia - but admits he is still kicking himself about the one that got away.

The Dark Blues' November schedule saw them lose narrowly to Australia before following up a close win over Argentina by thrashing the Lelos 43-16 at Kilmarnock's Rugby Park.

But Laidlaw admits he is still sore about the opening Wallabies defeat, when Bernard Foley snatched victory away from Vern Cotter's side with a penalty three minutes from the end.

However, he reckons the Scots are well placed to compete when they kick-off their RBS 6 Nations campaign at home to Ireland on February 4.

The Gloucester scrum-half, who booted 13 points against Georgia, said: "I'm mostly happy. If I'm being honest I'm still upset about the Australia game. We felt as a group that we were good enough to win that but let it slip away.

"But that game is gone and we will never get it back. We just need to prepare now for the Six Nations.

"When we do come back the training week will be so important.

"We trained so much better in the week leading up to the Australia game and it shone through in our performance.

"If we are going to come close again we need to train and prepare well for that game."

The Scots ran in four tries as they swept Georgia away with a dominant first-half display.

After being hit by an early Vasil Lobzhanidze sucker-punch, Tommy Seymour provided an instant response before a penalty try and further touchdowns from Sean Maitland and Stuart Hogg put Cotter's men in command.

Hamish Watson added another early in the second half and while Lobzhanidze was allowed to score a second, Scotland extended their winning margin late on when Hogg scored again.

"I thought Hoggy was tremendous," said Laidlaw. "He likes a quick surface and a bit of open space.

"When we got on the front foot in the first half we were able to manipulate it to get his hands on the ball and he showed what he's all about.

"He's our strike runner and one of our best. When it starts opening up you want Hoggy with his hands on the ball. He showed us why today.

"This was always about getting some confidence before the Six Nations. You can only play the game that is in front of you.

"That was a strong and improving Georgian team today but I thought we were tremendous in the first half and scored a lot of good tries.

"We kept the ball off them and played in the right areas of the field, so we can take a lot of confidence from that.

"We need to do an honest review of the game now and make sure we don't get ahead of ourselves because we have a huge battle next time out against Ireland in the first game of the Six Nations."

It has been a strong end to 2016 for Scotland, who will finish a calendar year with more wins than losses for the first time since 2010.

And Cotter believes his side is looking strong after using the autumn clashes to blood a fresh crop of youngsters.

He said: "If you look at the players who have come in, the likes of Allan Dell, Zander Fagerson, Hamish Watson and Magnus Bradbury who have had their first real taste of international rugby, and add a couple of others like Rory Hughes and Ali Price who got out on the field today, then there has been some good performances from players who have been given an opportunity.

"It's great as it does provide depth and makes us scratch our heads a bit more when it comes to selecting teams.

"A lot of things are coming together. They are not all there yet but they are well on their way."


From Belfast Telegraph