Rugby: Greig Laidlaw knows captaincy not for keeps

Scotland Rugby captain Greig Laidlaw talks ahead of their match against South Africa this Sunday at Murrayfield. Picture: Greg Macvean
Scotland Rugby captain Greig Laidlaw talks ahead of their match against South Africa this Sunday at Murrayfield. Picture: Greg Macvean
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Stand-in Scotland skipper Greig Laidlaw insists he has no plans to take the role from regular captain Kelly Brown on a permanent basis.

The Edinburgh scrum-half will lead out the side for tomorrow’s autumn Test with South Africa after the Saracens flanker was rested by head coach Scott Johnson. The Australian tactician has never confirmed Brown as his permanent skipper, despite usually bestowing the honour upon him, and will turn to Laidlaw for the second time this year this weekend. The Murrayfield encounter will be Laidlaw’s third match as captain after deputising for Brown during the summer clashes with the Springboks and Italy, but it will be his first on home soil.

However, amid any doubts over whether the Scotland captaincy might be up for grabs, Laidlaw has stressed he has no long-term ambitions to claim the armband for himself.

“I’ve spoken a lot with Kelly about captaining the side and he’s been there for me this week, just like I’m there for him when he’s captain,” he said.

“He’s not playing though this week and I’ve got the honour of leading out Scotland, but as for whether I’d like the role permanently, Kelly is the current captain of this squad and I’m pretty laid back about the whole situation, so we will just see how it goes.”

Laidlaw, 28, started out on his path to international rugby as a boy in his home town of Jedburgh and admits tomorrow’s match will be the fulfilment of a long-held ambition. “It’s a huge honour for myself,” he said. “It’s something I’m excited about and now I’m looking forward to the weekend. I won’t take the responsibility lightly.”

Laidlaw has faced the Springboks twice during his 22 outings as a Scotland player, losing 21-10 a year ago in Edinburgh before coming close in Nelspruit in June before ultimately crashing to 30-17. The Scots had been 11 points up in that game at one stage but Jim Hamilton’s sin-binning handed the initiative to the South Africans and they claimed 24 points in a rampant second-half to kill off the Scots’ challenge.

“We need to learn why we have fallen short a little in these last two games,” said Laidlaw.