Dropped: Laidlaw. Billy Stickland/INPHO
Matt Williams

'Chancy decision' to drop Laidlaw shows Scotland boss Townsend is still learning

Axing captain for Wales clash ‘sends ructions through the camp’, according to Matt Williams.

MATT WILLIAMS BELIEVES Greig Laidlaw’s omission from Scotland’s starting XV for tomorrow’s Six Nations clash with Wales at Murrayfield can go one of two ways.

The Scottish captain is one of four changes to the team that lost 27-10 against France in Paris a fortnight ago, with out-half Finn Russell among those included.

Williams also sees the Scots’ coach, Gregor Townsend, as still coming to grips with the role he took over two years ago.

“They’ve made a couple of changes in their backline; they’ve dropped Laidlaw which, to drop your captain, sends ructions through the camp,” he told The42 at today’s Virgin Media ‘Spectacular Week of Sport’ launch.

“I think Laidlaw has slowed down, I haven’t watched enough of his replacement [Ali Price], but he [Laidlaw] was ponderously slow this last few weeks in his passing, getting the ball from the ruck to the first runner.

But when you drop your captain halfway through a campaign, it sends a pretty strong message to the team that things aren’t good.

“You get one or two responses; the team either responds and says ‘yeah, you’re right, we’re going to fight for this’, or they say ‘I don’t agree with that, he’s our captain’.

“It’s a very chancy decision and Gregor, in my opinion, still hasn’t come to grips with the international game.”

Scotland have won just one of their three outings in this year’s tournament and lost their last two, against Ireland and France.

Williams admits that he would love them to put to an end Wales’ Grand Slam hopes tomorrow afternoon, but isn’t overly hopeful given their inability to close out matches.

“I’d love to see Scotland win,” said the Virgin Media pundit.

“But they’ve given some individual performances because they’ve got the talent, their clubs are playing much, much better, but they’re not playing with any consistency.

“Scotland are losing games, rather than other teams winning. I thought they were well-beaten by France, but two years in a row, I think they’ve lost against Ireland, rather than Ireland winning those games.”

Andy Dunne joins Murray Kinsella and Ryan Bailey to discuss Joe Schmidt’s undroppables and how France might attack Ireland’s predictability in The42 Rugby Weekly.

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