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Laidlaw blocks out noise for win

By Andy Newport

Greig Laidlaw admits he had to turn a deaf ear to the Italian tannoy blast to ensure Scotland's NatWest 6 Nations did not end on a sour note.

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The scrum-half was lining up his crucial last-gasp penalty in Rome when an announcement came from the Stadio Olimpico PA system.

But the unwelcome broadcast did not put the Clermont Auvergne man off as he slotted over to clinch a 29-27 win.

That precious kick handed the Scots their first away win in the Championship for two years and Laidlaw insisted there was no chance he would let himself be distracted by outside factors.

"Yeah that kick at the end is up there with the best I've hit," said the former skipper. But I've already said to the boys I'd prefer they don't get us in that situation again as I don't want to have to kick too many of them.

"That's part of my job as a goal-kicker though. It's down to me to put them over and thankfully I was able to do that.

"Somebody mentioned the tannoy announcement but I wasn't aware. There is always noise and it's part of being a goal-kicker that you have to block noise out.

"It's all about technique. If you can hold that and back yourself then thankfully like yesterday they go over."

Gregor Townsend was heaped with praise for the way his side evolved during the autumn Tests into one of the most thrilling attacking forces in world rugby.

But the Dark Blues had to rely on their forwards to grind down the hosts in Rome as Conor O'Shea's plucky Azzurri outfit desperately sought to avoid a record-equalling 17th straight tournament defeat.

"It's massively positive that we now have more than just one way to win," said Laidlaw. "It's important too because we were struggling at times but we really grabbed the game by utilising our forwards."

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