LANSDOWNE Road may now be the Aviva Stadium but there is a patch of grass which will be forever known, at least among Scottish rugby fans, as ‘Laidlaw’s Corner.’

It might be difficult to work out exactly where it is since the stadium was redeveloped but for those of us in the 1980s who were lucky enough to see Roy Laidlaw, a scrum-half whose skill was matched by his bravery, can still visualise where he dived over the Irish line.

Six times he did that in the Five Nations, four of them coming in Dublin, and almost all in the same bit of the turf; hence the tribute.

The famous rugby surname lives on in the current team’s No.9 with nephew Greig, who will win his 62nd cap tomorrow as Scotland attempt to win an away game in the Six Nations, a feat which for this group of players has become the final box to be ticked in terms of their progress.

What he, and Scotland, would give for a repeat of history, particularly of the 1984 win over the Irish, as part of the Grand Slam, when the original Laidlaw scored twice in a 32-9 win, suffering a knock on the head for his troubles which prevented him for joining in what surely were legendary celebrations.

“Yeah, he used to tell me about it all the time,” said Greig before adding: “No, he’s actually pretty modest is Uncle Roy.

“I remember seeing a few videos and he certainly loved playing against Ireland for some reason but it’s not been a happy hunting ground of late, going to Ireland for Scotland.

“We understand the task ahead, we are really excited by that challenge and excited to be taking on Ireland who are a brilliantly coached side, not been beaten very often at home, and in the context of the Six Nations as well.

“We feel that we are in the hunt and we understand that we need to win if we want to win the championship.”


As Scotland prepare for game four of a championship they last won in 1999 – and haven’t really come close in since – there is talk about winning the Six Nations, which has never happened, and it’s not from a supporter with a pint or three of the good ol’ black stuff. sloshing inside of him.

Let’s skip ahead.

The last game is in Rome against a poor Italy side which won’t just be a win but a bonus point victory at that. England are in Paris this weekend, Ireland travel to Twickenham on the last round of matches and so…

It’s hard not to get even a bit excited but then you remember how poor Scotland have been away from Murrayfield in the Six Nations and the heartbeat slows down.

“It’s a difficult question to answer,” said Laidlaw when, not for the first time, he was asked why such a good team have suffered so badly on the road.

“Can our away form be better? It probably can.

“But we are playing tough opposition and everyone is focused on home games now.

“It’s just the way it is but we want to improve our away form now and that’s the next step for this team.

“We can see that we are really developing and now here at BT Murrayfield, our stronghold, we have only been beaten by New Zealand in the last however many Tests, so the next step for this team is starting to win on the road and to perform to the best of our ability to have a chance of winning games.”

For Scotland to work, they need their half-back partnership to click as they did against the English.

Laidlaw and Finn Russell were a joy to watch in the Calcutta Cup and will need to be nothing less than world-class against the Ireland’s very talented due of Connor Murray and Jonny Sexton.

You never quite know what Russell will do or say – he is something of a one-off – and is as different a character from Laidlaw as you could find. However, they are good for one another.

“It’s brilliant to play alongside Finn,” said Laidlaw.

“The players around him, in the back division and the forwards, love having him there as he has such a sharp pass.

“When he’s in that confident mood, we feel as though we can break any defence in the world.”

This is big talk from Laidlaw and he meant every word of it. Scotland believe they can win the Six Nations because, quite simply, they can.

But let’s not get too carried away.

Ireland are rated third in the world for a reason.

They lead the championship and are the only team capable of a Grand Slam and in Joe Schmidt a coach with few if any equals.

However, Scotland have a chance, a genuine chance, of going to the Aviva and winning. Do so and we can party like it’s 1984.