Laidlaw desperate to end with win

Greig Laidlaw is focused on Scotland beating Ireland to avoid a Six Nations wooden spoon
Greig Laidlaw is focused on Scotland beating Ireland to avoid a Six Nations wooden spoon

Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw has called on his side to keep their single-minded focus on beating Ireland to avoid the wooden spoon.

Defeat to England on Saturday was Scotland's fourth loss from four RBS 6 Nations games, leaving Vern Cotter's side staring at a second whitewash in four years.

"It's simple. We have one massive challenge at home and we are desperate to win the game," Laidlaw said.

"We will be chucking everything at that game. We will stick together this week, look at the videos, do our recovery together and stay together as coaches and players.

"We will put together a plan and then go and execute it. We will be absolutely desperate come Saturday to win the game."

Narrow defeats despite good performances in all but the loss to Italy - bottom of the table 10 times since their inclusion in the championship in 2000 - give Scotland some positives on which to focus this week.

Ireland are chasing the championship title they won in 2014, with few expecting Scotland to prevail, but they have beaten the Irish before to avoid the wooden spoon.

Ireland have lost on their last two trips to Murrayfield - in the August 2011 Rugby World Cup warm-up and the 2013 Six Nations - while Scotland avoided finishing sixth in 2010 by winning in Dublin.

Laidlaw's confidence is intact.

"We believe in what we are all about," the Gloucester scrum-half added.

"We believe we can win the game at home. If we start looking outside we will miss things inside.

"If we get our part right and are true to ourselves as players and coaches we will put ourselves in a position to get right in the game and take it."

Scotland's wait for a first Twickenham victory since 1983 goes on but they recovered from a slow start to take a half-time lead, although they barely escaped their own half in the second period and failed to score after the interval.

"I thought the response we got was measured, calm and controlled," Laidlaw said.

"We played magnificent rugby from there until half-time. We just got stuck in our half a bit in the second half.

"A couple of times there was a bounce of the ball, a contestable kick, and we made a mess of it.

"If we had picked that up we could have started playing in their half, held the ball, got a couple of penalties. The game just went away from us a little bit.

"It's hugely frustrating. As players we're absolutely gutted with another defeat.

"But we are far from being dominated, we really feel that as players.

"Speaking to some of the Welsh guys, the feedback was that we are night and day from where we were.

"We believe that as well and it is just about developing that last bit of confidence to keep playing."

Cotter's confidence remains, too.

The New Zealander said: "If we can repeat and develop parts of our game that we did well, we'll put them under pressure.

"We've got to start believing that. I am encouraged I really am, with what I see. Frustrated we haven't got the win but we are working towards it.

"We take it on the chin but I think there is improvement. We took the game to England. They are a very good side. Now we've got to keep believing and developing.

"We just have to keep working that way, analysing and shifting forward.

"We need to keep moving. We have Ireland next week and they beat England so it will be really tough for us.

"(But) there is more to come from this team."