BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Rory Lawson has urged Scotland to ‘do whatever it takes’ to win in Wales this weekend.
Lawson has warned Vern Cotter’s squad risk sounding like a stuck record unless they quickly shrug off yet another dispiriting start to their Six Nations campaign.
After eight successive defeats, the Scots are now on their worst-ever run in the tournament and have still only won one of their opening-day fixtures since the competition was expanded to include Italy in 2000.
Lawson, the 31-times capped former Scotland scrum-half, admits Saturday’s 15-9 loss at home to England in the Calcutta Cup appears to have ‘extinguished’ the hopes that emerged during an improved, but ultimately disappointing, World Cup campaign.
However, the 34-year-old, who was forced to retire because of injury in 2013, believes the players who did not play against the Auld Enemy will perform a crucial role in trying to lift the squad this week.
And the former Edinburgh, Gloucester and Newcastle Falcons player believes victory is imperative at the intimidating Principality Stadium – however it is achieved.
With Scotland not having won in Cardiff since 2002, and having been thrashed 51-3 two years ago when Stuart Hogg was red-carded, Lawson said: “Nobody wants to be keep talking about the same old story, because there was a let-down last season with the wooden spoon.
“Obviously, Scotland are on this poor run, no matter how good the World Cup was. Though there was a frustrating end, there was a lot of positivity.
“But the Six Nations run is tricky.
“I was (in Cardiff) two years ago and it was hugely disappointing. Hoggy’s sending off was a catalyst for the Welsh victory.
“I think it’s going to be the guys outside the starting XV from Saturday who have a big role. They need to come in and energise them and lift them.
“They’ll be physically and mentally tired but at the same time I know the guys within that squad and there is a huge determination.
“There will be a desire to go down to Cardiff and change the history books, to turn in a special performance that blows Wales off the pitch.
“Win at all costs. Whatever it takes, that win is crucial.”
Meanwhile, Lawson insists the players will have conducted a lot of soul-searching since going down to England at the weekend.
“Certainly leaving Murrayfield after the game on Saturday it was clear that the hopes that everyone arrived with were quickly extinguished, diminished,” he added on BBC.
“The key thing is the squad will inevitably have looked at the match very closely and will have picked through the bones.
“As a recent ex-player, it’s tough to hear the immediate criticism off the back of it. Some of it was due, Scotland weren’t at the levels they needed to be to win a Calcutta Cup.
“But I can promise you there will be nobody more critical than the players themselves.”