Six Nations 2016: Scotland's belief vindicated - Laidlaw

By Phil GoodladBBC Scotland
A scrum during Scotland's defeat of France in the 2016 Six Nations
Greig Laidlaw led Scotland to victory against France
Six Nations: Ireland v Scotland
Date: Saturday, 19 March Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Kick-off: 17:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on ITV, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Captain Greig Laidlaw says he always felt Scotland were good enough to win matches in this season's Six Nations.

And the Gloucester scrum-half, 30, insists they are now "proving it to themselves and to others".

After defeats in the opening two matches, Scotland now sit third in the championship table after victories away to Italy and at home to France.

"We felt we were that close right from the start," Laidlaw told BBC Scotland.

"We were bitterly disappointed with the way we played in that England game but the Welsh game I thought we played fantastically well.

Six Nations schedule
Date (All times GMT)FixtureCoverage
Sat, 19 Mar (14:30 KO)Wales v ItalyBBC One, S4C and BBC Radio
Sat, 19 Mar (17:00 KO)Ireland v ScotlandITV and BBC Radio
Sat, 19 Mar, (20:00 KO)France v EnglandBBC One and BBC Radio

"We're delighted to win the last couple of games and prove it to ourselves and to other people as well."

Laidlaw is able to pinpoint the differences that have turned defeats into victories.

"Defensively we have really fronted up as a team," the former Edinburgh player explained.

"We're not conceding as many tries, which goes a long way to solving problems.

"The set piece has been outstanding, you need that to launch into the game, and I think we're just causing teams a lot of problems by holding on to the ball."

Reunion with Joubert

Scotland complete their tournament away to Ireland in Dublin on Saturday, when Craig Joubert will be running the line.

The South African refereed Scotland's World Cup quarter-final against Australia last year and awarded a controversial penalty that allowed the Wallabies to earn a narrow victory.

When asked if Scotland would be motivated to play well and show Joubert their displeasure at his handling of that agonising loss to Australia, Laidlaw replied: "I don't know, it's an unanswerable question isn't it?

"Craig Joubert won't affect us as a team come the weekend. You can't worry about referees or touch judges. If we start doing that we take our eye off the ball and on our role."

BBC Scotland's Six Nations Extra