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Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw says he knew they would beat Italy

Greig Laidlaw of Scotland passes the ball during the Six Nations match between Italy and Scotland at Stadio Olimpico in Rome
Image: Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw had no doubts they would defeat Italy

Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw says he looked in his team-mates' eyes before taking on Italy in Rome and knew they would finally end their two-year search for a Six Nations victory.

Vern Cotter's side had not triumphed in a Championship clash since their last visit to the Italian capital in 2014.

But they claimed a 36-20 victory thanks in part to tries from John Barclay, John Hardie and Tommy Seymour.

Leonardo Ghiraldini and Marco Fuser both crossed at the Stadio Olimpico but every time the Azzurri looked to be getting back into the contest, captain Laidlaw kept them at bay with his trusty kicking.

He succeeded with seven attempts out of eight, adding 21 points, and the Gloucester scrum-half insisted he never doubted they would end their losing Six Nations streak after witnessing the steely resolve in his colleagues ahead of the contest.

"I knew when we took to the field that we were going to win, I could see it in the boys' eyes," he said.

"I saw it in the way that we had prepared all week under Vern and the other coaches, so that for me is pleasing.

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"Italy were on top for a couple of points in the game which you are always going to get at this level, but our scrum was absolutely fantastic.

I knew when we took to the field that we were going to win, I could see it in the boys' eyes.
Scotland skipper Greig Laidlaw

"We had Stuart Hogg's touch of class at the end to put Tommy Seymour away for the third which was fantastic.

"The character shown when we were defending on our line, 15 of us, just digging in, filling in where we're needed, that is what got us across the line."

Scotland lost their opening games this campaign against England and Wales after letting excellent opportunities slip at vital moments, but they were never in danger of tripping up this time after flying out of the traps.

Barclay was teed up by a clever offload from Hogg after 10 minutes while Hardie dived over just after the quarter hour following Finn Russell's daring break.

Greig Laidlaw of Scotland kicks a penalty during the Six Nations match between Italy and Scotland at Stadio Olimpico in Rome
Image: Laidlaw kicked 21 points in Rome

Ghiraldini trimmed the deficit back after 30 minutes before Fuser squeezed the ball down for Italy's second midway through the second half after Russell was sent to the sin bin.

But Scotland - thanks to Laidlaw, whose kicking kept the scoreboard ticking over - always held the hosts at arm's length.

WP Nel was also shown a yellow card with eight minutes remaining but Scotland refused to panic and eventually sealed the victory they craved so badly two minutes from time when Hogg produced another stunning assist for Seymour as he tossed the ball to his Glasgow team-mate from behind his back.

Scotland end losing streak
Scotland end losing streak

Scotland halt losing streak with win over Italy in Rome

Now Laidlaw is determined to use the victory as a springboard for further success.

"I was delighted to win the game. It's been a while since we won," he added.

"Now, on the back of a good victory, we can't wait to pull on that jersey again in a few weeks' time against France back at home."

Coach Cotter was also pleased with how his inexperienced team handled the pressure situations as Italy tried to scrap their way back into the match.

"It was a good start, scoring two tries, and I thought we kept the ball and our speed and tempo up in the game," he said.

Vern Cotter, Head Coach of Scotland, looks on prior to the Six Nations match between Italy and Scotland in Rome
Image: Vern Cotter was pleased with his inexperienced side

"We knew they would come back and they did, and I thought they probably had the better part of the last 10 or 15 minutes of the first half.

"Credit to these boys because they stepped up and got themselves through what was a challenging second half and finished with a try.

"Rather than being worried about losing, they strived for the win right till the end and scored that try. It shows a lot in the courage and character of the team.

"At different parts of the game we had to negotiate yellow cards and the boys stuck together. It's about the team, these boys have got a win and I think they deserved it."

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