Laidlaw still has a role to play: Townsend
Gregor Townsend insists dropping captain Greig Laidlaw for tomorrow's clash with Wales at BT Murrayfield is not the beginning of the end for the skipper's Scotland career.
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The veteran Clermont Auvergne scrum-half has paid for his part in back-to-back Guinness Six Nations defeats to Ireland and France, with Townsend opting to start Ali Price against Warren Gatland's Grand Slam-chasers.
There is no doubt the former Edinburgh ace has not been at his best during the Six Nations so far, so the 33-year-old will have to watch from the bench as his understudy gets his chance to prove he can be the man to steer Scotland towards this year's World Cup.
But Townsend is not ready to discard Scotland's second highest all-time points scorer just yet, despite benching him.
"We know there is a big tournament on the horizon and we will see what happens after the World Cup," said the head coach.
"We had two weeks to reflect on why things didn't work over in France. We looked at every position, and we also reflected on the fact we're out of the Championship.
"So if someone has earned their opportunity, Ali Price for example, this is a good time to see if it helps the team win at the weekend.
"Greig is a key part of the squad. He will have a different role coming on from the bench but he will have an important part to play."
SCOTLAND: B Kinghorn; T Seymour, N Grigg, P Horne, D Graham; F Russell, A Price; A Dell, S McInally, W Nel; G Gilchrist, J Gray; M Bradbury, J Ritchie, J Strauss.
Replacements: F Brown, G Reid, S Berghan, B Toolis, H Watson, G Laidlaw, A Hastings, B McGuigan.