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Laidlaw's spoiling for jersey fight

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'I'll fight to the death for my jersey... I won't be shying away from that'

Greig Laidlaw’s halo slipped with Scotland during the 2019 Six Nations. The long-serving scrum-half lost his spot in the starting line-up near the end of the tournament, dropping to the bench for the closing two matches versus Wales and England.

However, rather than accept he is now potentially behind Ali Price in the Scottish pecking order, he is aiming to show Gregor Townsend he is capable of remaining a pivotal player in his national team’s set-up.  

“Without a shadow of a doubt I feel I can win the shirt back,” he emphatically said to Scottish media ahead of next month’s World Cup warm-up fixtures.  

“I’ll fight to the death for my jersey, I’ll fight tooth and nail for it if I have to. I won’t be shying away from that. Ali (Price) is playing really well, George (Horne) is coming through as a young scrum-half.

“I think I add value to the group and you probably saw that in the latter stages in the game down in England. I still feel I’ve got a lot to give to the jersey and the group, and I look forward to the challenge that lies ahead.”

Being too pedestrian is the criticism regularly laid at Laidlaw’s door. However, the Clermont No9 isn’t allowing that needle to bother him in the countdown to the finals in Japan. “That’s always been there, and it always will be,” he admitted. “It doesn’t bother me. I just worry about myself. My team-mates know what I’m about and there’s no stronger thing than that.

“He [Horne] is fast and he’s an excellent rugby player who has played well for Glasgow. But I’m very fast in my top two inches and that’s somewhere you need to be fast. You’re always trying to add stuff to your game and hopefully, I’m a little bit stronger defensively. That’s something I’ve worked hard on.

“Going down to France, I try to play quickly all the time. If the ball is quick, we’re good to go. You’re certainly always trying to develop that. And Gregor is big on his support lines from scrum-half, so that’s something new I’ve been trying to develop.

“It [France] has been excellent. You feel as though you’re playing in big games every week. That gives you a good mindset, so when you do go into massive games, you feel really prepared and you’re playing in front of massive crowds all the time.

“That’s really helped me. You can be more relaxed going into games because you know you’ve got enough armoury in the toolbox to go and win them. Underpinning it all is the way I see the game. My ability to control things, and goal-kicking, that’s all within my control. I’ve got to make sure I look after what I do well.”

WATCH: The latest RugbyPass documentary, Foden – Stateside, looks at how ex-England international Ben Foden is settling into Major League Rugby in New York

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'I'll fight to the death for my jersey... I won't be shying away from that'