Greig Laidlaw targets positive showing against Italy
Greig Laidlaw hopes a big performance against Italy will help him nail down the Scotland scrum-half position.
Last Updated: 09/02/13 2:57pm
Laidlaw was handed the No 9 jersey for last weekend's defeat to England, taking over from Mike Blair, Scotland's most-capped scrum-half who retired before the start of the Six Nations.
The 27-year-old was one of the positives for Scotland in the Twickenham defeat, with interim head coach Scott Johnson confirming he will retain his place for the visit of the French-conquering Azzurri.
Laidlaw had been operating at fly-half on a part-time basis for Edinburgh and Scotland, but he hopes he can get a run of games in his favoured position.
"I enjoyed being back at nine. I was pretty comfortable in there," he said.
"I've held on to my place and hopefully I can build on that this week, keep the jersey for longer, and get that win that we desperately want.
"I'd now say scrum-half is my out-and-out position. First and foremost, I want to play as a nine.
"I'd fill in elsewhere if required, I won't shy away from that, but nine is my preferred position."
Laidlaw agreed with Johnson's view that Scotland had lost the forwards battle against England, but says the team are determined to right that wrong against Italy.
"The coach doesn't mince his words, so we duly got told after the game where he wants us to go," he said.
"But we are not shying away from that. It's exactly what we need to work on, we know that ourselves."
Laidlaw was left frustrated at Twickenham as all too often his attempts to retrieve the ball from the breakdown were hampered by a physical England pack which won almost twice as many rucks and mauls as the visitors.
When he was able to dig the ball clear, he was ably assisted by a running trio of Sean Maitland, Stuart Hogg and Tim Visser, who proved they have the legs to threaten if the space is cleared early enough.
Laidlaw said: "There were parts of the game in London that were encouraging and parts that we need to improve on.
"We realise what they are and that is what we have been working on in training this week. The training will come through in the game and hopefully give us the result we want.
"We let England get on the front foot in the pack and we struggled to defend from there and if you let anyone do that, it's a hard day at the office.