Getting the right result
With 75 caps and 710 points to his name, Greig Laidlaw is one of the most experienced members of Scotland’s Rugby World Cup 2019 squad. We talked to him about the team’s performance against Samoa and the threats posed by Russia and Japan.
How did you get that black eye!?
"I am not sure exactly. Probably when I got smashed scoring my try (against Samoa) I think. It helped me over the line."
How’s it been in camp this week?
"We feel a bit better, obviously. It was a big game for us, as every game is now, and it was excellent we came through that in the manner we did.
“We can take a lot of confidence from the way we performed and how we constructed the game."
Where did the win rank in your career given the context of the match?
"It was definitely up there in terms of complete performances.
“We didn’t score too early in the game but the way we stuck to what we were doing, putting Samoa under pressure with our kicking game and our defence; that was the pleasing thing.
"We didn’t try to chase the game too early. That was the message but it is one thing talking about it and another thing executing it. We need to use that model going forward for the rest of the tournament.
"Each game is going to be different. Russia have been impressive so far so we have got to get that game right."
What was the pressure like before the Samoa game?
"We knew the circumstances and that if we didn’t perform, we were packing our bags and going home.
“That was the pleasing part in the way we performed. But we have to step it up again now. We are still in the same situation where we need to win every game. That game is done now, it is all about the next game.
"Russia have been good so far in this tournament. Everyone has been impressed by them and so have we. Whoever gets the opportunity, it is going to be vitally important to get that performance right and give us momentum going into the last game.
"You can’t take anyone lightly now. Each team is getting better and better. Some of the results at this World Cup just shows you that if you’re not on your game, you are going to be put under pressure. We need to perform well when the game comes round.
“We have a job to do against Russia first and foremost. We can't look past that. We've got to really nail that game and if we do nail it then we'll take the momentum of two good games into the last match against Japan.
"It's going to be a tough battle. They played extremely well against Ireland but for now it's about constructing the match against Russia. Once the Japanese match comes round we'll get on that."
How tough are the short turnarounds (Scotland’s tests against Russia and Japan are four days apart)?
"We’ve got an excellent squad here and it's going to take a squad effort for us to get the two strong performances we need to get through.
"That's going to be vitally important. We've got boys that are hungry to play and I think, if it comes to it, you could do it because we want to get into the quarter-finals."
Do Japan have the advantage given they’ve a greater rest leading into the game?
"If we were on the Japanese side then of course we'd be happier with their turnaround.
"But we've known about this for a long time and have prepared with the S&C staff, the physios and the coaches, so the boys know what's coming.
"The boys have to look after themselves going forward from today. We need to get the Samoa game out of our system quickly and then move on to that Russia game.
"We'll have some excellent preparation for that but I'd imagine we'll be doubling up a little bit. We'll certainly not look too far ahead."
What challenges do Russia pose?
"Their set-piece has been excellent. Their scrummaging – they are obviously strong there – and just the general way they've gone about their business.
“They've come to enjoy themselves and play rugby and that's really shone through in their performances.
"I thought they played really well against Samoa so we're going to have to play well to get the right result."