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Worry about the game not the weather, says Greig Laidlaw

Greig Laidlaw, the Scotland captain, has warned his compatriots that they need to worry about the opposition rather than the weather as they head into tonight's match with the United States in hot and humid Houston.

Greig Laidlaw, in the background, keeps a close eye on Finn Russell, who will make his debut in Houston. Picture: SNS Group/SRU
Greig Laidlaw, in the background, keeps a close eye on Finn Russell, who will make his debut in Houston. Picture: SNS Group/SRU

Laidlaw admitted that he and the rest of the players struggled with the heat when they arrived in the Texas city earlier this week, but that they had adjusted to the conditions in the days since. He also pointed out that the evening kick-off - the game begins at 7.30pm local time - would be helpful.

"The sun will be down then," he said. "That has been the main problem at training. We will be out of the worst of it so we will be fine.

"But the conditions are the conditions and we can't do anything about that. We need to worry about the game and beating the Americans who are solid side.

"If we don't turn up and knock them back in defence they will get on to the front foot and once they are on the front foot they are a team that get their tails up. So we need to stop them on the gain line."

The US team holds 18th place in the world rankings, eight slots behind Scotland. Tonight's match will be the Scots' first outing since their 51-3 hammering by Wales in the final round of the RBS 6 Nations Championship three months ago and Laidlaw agreed that a win against the USA would help to put memories of that match to rest.

"That was a poor day for us, especially with Stuart Hogg getting dismissed early on," he explained. "Wales played well but we still played badly, even though Hoggy went off and we were down to 14 men.

"It's gone and we can't look back because if we start worrying about that or worrying about the weather we'll take our eye off the Americans. That's why we're here. We want to get a decent win. We've trained well which is always a good sign. So if we take that into the game I believe that we can get that good win."

With the match also marking the start of Vern Cotter's reign as head coach, Laidlaw, who will join Gloucester at the end of the tour, suggested that the Scottish players had even more incentive to do well.

"Vern is his own man and he won't come in and make wholesale changes at the start," said Laidlaw. "It will take him a bit of time to put his stamp on the team, but it has been a good week and the players have taken a liking to him.

"He is quiet, but when he talks rugby everyone listens. You don't want to muck about when he's there and rightly so. He is definitely someone who will get the best out of the group.

"There are not a huge number of Test matches before the World Cup so every game is important, especially with the new set-up coming in. Boys will be looking to impress and that is a good thing."

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