Hastings, the former Scotland and British and Irish Lions centre, wants to see Laidlaw and other senior players stand up and be counted when they come up against the leaders at Murrayfield on Saturday.
He told Omnisport: “Scotland are misfiring at the moment and whilst we can look at the injury list – which has been significant – there is enough experience in Gregor Townsend’s wider squad for the senior players to stand up and deliver.
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“Unfortunately for some reason they are not firing. Apart from a pretty solid 60 minutes against Italy and a reasonably solid half against Ireland, Scotland have played very little good rugby in the championship.
“The likes of Laidlaw, Jonny Gray, Stuart McInally, Tommy Seymour, they are not coming out with standout performances. They are just coming out with a mediocre performance. It’s difficult sometimes on the international field – I know from my experience – sometimes you go out there and you can’t get into the game.
“But if you consider 12 months ago Scotland were hammering England at Murrayfield. Scotland have got to wake up and wake up soon as the match against Wales and the daunting trip to face England at Twickenham, it could be a horrendous finish, but equally it could be a glorious finish if they can find the levels of intensity.”
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Hastings wants to see Laidlaw pull the strings if head coach Townsend keeps faith with the skipper.
“At the moment there are a few fingers being pointed at Laidlaw and questions over whether he should start,” Hastings added.
“He needs a big game and certainly when I’ve questioned whether he should be in the team, he has produced a performance and he needs to deliver. But also does Jonny Gray keep his place? Matt Fagerson may come into the front row alongside Allan Dell.”
He added of Laidlaw: “It’s a really difficult one. Do you drop your captain? When Scotland are looking for confidence, what sort of message does that send out to this team? We knew in the past Gregor Townsend hasn’t shirked responsibility. It will be a fascinating selection.
“If Laidlaw plays he is going to have to show why he is captain and why he is number one scrum-half with a performance out of the top drawer, because he has Ali Price snapping away at his heels and young George Horne – who always adds impetus to a game – wanting to be part of that Scotland set-up.”
– Hastings is a supporter of the ‘My Name’5 Doddie Foundation’, launched by his former team-mate Doddie Weir to aid research into Motor Neurone Disease. For more information on the foundation visit https://www.myname5doddie.co.uk/
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