Laidlaw aims to avoid wooden spoon

Greig Laidlaw hopes to lead Scotland to a victory over Ireland this weekend
Greig Laidlaw hopes to lead Scotland to a victory over Ireland this weekend

Scotland skipper Greig Laidlaw admits the Dark Blues will be left red-faced if they do not end this year's RBS 6 Nations with a victory on Saturday.

Vern Cotter's side have impressed in brief spells so far this campaign but have not done enough to beat France, Wales, Italy or England.

They now round off their Championships by hosting the Irish at Murrayfield this weekend.

But with Joe Schmidt's team chasing their second Six Nations title on the spin, they will have to produce a stunning result to spare themselves their third whitewash in 11 years.

A sked if it would be embarrassing for Scotland to finish bottom without a win, scrum-half Laidlaw said: "Well yeah. We don't want to do that, do we?

"As players that is certainly not what we set out to do.

"But we have an opportunity this weekend to make sure we (don't finish with the Wooden Spoon).

"That's all we can do this year unfortunately. We will go out there and give absolutely everything to try and avoid (another defeat).

"It's a huge game for us but I know the boys are absolutely desperate to get out there, put in a good performance and come away with a win."

The Scots impressed so much during November's three-game series against Argentina, New Zealand and Tonga that there were genuine hopes they could perhaps mount a surprise title bid.

But those ambitions now lie in tatters.

The last-gasp 22-19 defeat to the Azzurri remains the lowest point of a black six weeks, but the clashes with France and Wales also saw big opportunities missed and self-inflicted mistakes prove costly.

Laidlaw now hopes his men can at least stride away from the tournament with some pride intact and avoid the prospect of stumbling towards this year's World Cup with heads bowed.

"Where you finish is where you finish," he said. "You can't have any qualms about it.

"But we have a chance this weekend to make sure we don't finish bottom. We have got to do everything in our powers to make sure that doesn't happen.

"If we get a win here it gives us some momentum going forward to the World Cup and the four warm-up games."

The Scots sparkled for 20 minutes of the first half against England last weekend at Twickenham and even led the Auld Enemy 13-10 at the break.

But they failed to build on that platform as Stuart Lancaster's men came back at them with a second-half barrage to claim 12-point win.

Since that bruising second-half collapse, head coach Cotter has sat his men down and pointed out the same old mistakes that keep costing them.

But Laidlaw insists those brutal home truths need to be told if the Scots are to improve.

The Gloucester half-back said: "Vern is an honest bloke - he doesn't miss when he swings.

"He's been honest but he's been good too. He's a clever coach and the boys appreciate that.

"The boys don't mind being told. We watched the game back and they saw themselves some of the flaws and that makes us frustrated.

"It really was the simple things we did well against England which allowed us to get on the front foot and take the lead.

"But we let them off the hook in the second half. We almost thought, 'Brilliant, we are in the lead, we have a chance'. We relaxed a couple of per cent and let England come back at us. That cost us the game."

The last time Ireland were welcomed into Edinburgh they were mugged 12-8 by Scott Johnson's side and Laidlaw believes the current Dark Blues could learn from that 2013 display.

He said: "Looking back to that game we just did little things well to stay in the game.

"That will be the key again this weekend. We need to get into their half, hold the ball, win penalties then get the scoreboard ticking over. Get three points, six points, maybe then a try.

"Once you start playing in their half, the game becomes so much easier."