Six Nations
Laidlaw: I'm not the man for fly-half role
ESPN Staff
February 24, 2015
Greig Laidlaw insists he wants to remain in his scrum-half role © Getty Images

Scotland fly-half Finn Russell will learn his ban appeal fate on Wednesday, but skipper Greig Laidlaw insists he is not the man to fill in at number 10 if his colleague is ruled out of Saturday's Six Nations clash with Italy.

Glasgow back Russell was hit with a two-week ban for his "reckless" tackle on Wales' Dan Biggar at Murrayfield earlier this month.

The 22-year-old only had eyes for the ball as his opposite number jumped to catch an up-and-under during the Dragons' 26-23 win - but his challenge left Biggar in a heap.

Russell was sin-binned by referee Glen Jackson before a Six Nations disciplinary panel then dished its further punishment.

However, Scotland have challenged the ruling and will have their appeal heard in London on Wednesday.

If Russell is made to sit out the Azzurri's visit to Edinburgh, scrum-half Laidlaw insists he will not be performing the understudy role.

"Finn is a good boy, the tackle which led to his ban was an accident," Laidlaw said. "What is going to happen will happen.

"I've played at 10 before but I don't think I would be the first option the coaches would look at. There are boys who play there week in, week out - I've not played there for a long time.

"I think the coaches will be looking at other options before they look at me. I've spoke to them at length this week and I will certainly not be there at the start."

With Duncan Weir - whose dramatic last-gasp drop-goal clinched victory over the Italians in Rome last year - ruled out for the next four months with a torn bicep, Scotland head coach Vern Cotter could be left with a difficult decision if Russell's appeal falls flat.

Glasgow's Peter Horne and Greig Tonks of Edinburgh are both decent prospects at 10 but lack experience at the highest level.

British and Irish Lion Stuart Hogg is hugely talented and more than capable of making the move up from full-back - but Scotland may not want to lose out on his threat from deep.

Whoever is selected, Laidlaw insists Scotland will not suffer in Saturday's potential wooden spoon decider.

"With Horney and Tonks, both are left-peggers so that is good for trying to exit out of your own half when you are looking for options with both left foot and right foot," said the Gloucester man.

"Horney is a more jinky player, where Tonks gives good ball down the line. Both of them are good in defence too, which is vital. And they are both ready to step up to the international stage.

"Hoggy also has all the attributes to move up to 10 too. He's got a strong kicking game and we've seen him come in as first receiver a couple of times in the championships already and cause defences problems.

"We will see what happens but we feel we have strong players in there if the worst does happen with Finn."

Scotland marched into the tournament with high expectations but despite performing encouragingly, Cotter's side have so far fallen short in their opening clashes with France and Wales.

But Laidlaw - who declined the chance to speculate on reports the Scots want New Zealand rugby league international Kevin Locke to switch codes and countries - said: "We're absolutely desperate to get the win. We played really well in the first two games and were frustrated not to get a victory.

"But our attacking with the ball in hand has been brilliant and now it's just about fine-tuning our game. We need to watch our penalty count and not let the Italians into the game. If we do that, I think we can win."

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