(Reuters) – Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw has urged his team mates to forget their lacklustre performance against France in Nice last weekend as they prepare to host the same opponents at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Scotland were well beaten 32-3 on the French south coast, but have an immediate chance for revenge on home soil as they desperately seek some momentum going into the World Cup in Japan next month.
The Scots have lost four and drawn one of their last five tests, and looked ragged in all departments against a vastly superior France a week ago.
Coach Gregor Townsend has made 14 changes for the match, with only fullback Stuart Hogg retaining his place in the starting XV, and a debut for New Zealand-born number eight Blade Thomson.
“The boys have fronted up well this week and we understand it wasn’t an acceptable performance, but we’re not going to get that game back so our focus needs to turn to this one and it did pretty early in the week,” Laidlaw told reporters on Friday.
“The boys that have been given the honour to pull on the jersey, it’s up to them now to deliver a performance. They are really focussed to put in a strong performance against a strong French team.”
Scotland still have home and away fixtures against Georgia before they leave for Japan, and Laidlaw said it is important to find that winning feeling again.
“It’s all about results and we want to win. Leading up to a World Cup it’s important to get some momentum in the last three warm-up games,” he said.
The return of first-choice flyhalf Finn Russell after he missed last weekend’s test is a major boost for the side, according to Laidlaw.
“He brings out the best in me and hopefully I do the same for him. We have worked well in the past to drive the team forward and that’s what we hope to do tomorrow so we can get some quick ball,” the scrumhalf added.
“If I can get it out to Finn, he is one of the best in the world. With his skill set and his mindset, he’s been excellent this week in driving the team and I’m looking forward to taking to the field with him.”
Scotland are in Pool A at the World Cup along with Ireland, Japan, Russia and Samoa.
(Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by Christian Radnedge)