ON TARGET: Greig Laidlaw had his radar calibrated nicely as he helped boot Scotland to victory against the Brave Blossoms
GLOUCESTER, 23 Sept - Greig Laidlaw says he was "delighted" by Scotland’s bonus-point victory over Japan at his Gloucester club ground Kingsholm, but insists he won’t dwell on his homecoming.
The Scots, like Japan did after their shock victory over South Africa, face a four-day turnaround to prepare for their next game against USA in Leeds on Sunday and Laidlaw, who kicked 20 points in the 45-10 win against the Brave Blossoms on Wednesday, insists the team must move on.
"I told the boys what a special rugby ground it is and, once again, it proved that," Laidlaw said. "The passion for rugby down here is second to none, but I thought a lot of Scottish players played well today, and we play as a team.
"We start as we mean to go on. Personally it was great, but we move on to Leeds. That becomes the most important game now."
Man of the match
Laidlaw earned the man of the match accolade in front of his home fans, which included a blend of Scottish blue and the famous cherry and white shared by both Gloucester and Japan.
Scotland raced in five tries in the second half, eating away at the Japanese defence, which began to flag and Laidaw believes Scotland’s freshness going into the fixture was a factor.
"I did feel they were tiring in the second half," Laidlaw continued. "I felt like we had them at half-time. This is the fittest Scottish team in a long, long time and you’ve seen that in the warm-up games and again today. We’re in a good place, fitness-wise."
During his post-match press conference, Japan head coach Eddie Jones eluded to his team’s quick turnaround following their victory over South Africa as a influencing factor in his side’s defeat.
Ready for aggression
Vern Cotter, the Scotland head coach, claimed his side were fully aware of Japan’s threat even before they tamed the Springboks although, in hindsight, Laidlaw believes Japan’s "aggressive" performance last Saturday did give Scotland food for thought.
"I think, looking back, it helped our performance if I’m honest," Laidlaw said. "I don’t think South Africa were expecting them to be so aggressive and organised in attack, so we were ready for that.
"It was nervous to sit back and watch everyone else play. There was no place in our performance for complacency and I think you saw that today in our performance."