Six Nations 2016: Scotland's Greig Laidlaw 'to take pain to grave'

By Phil GoodladBBC Scotland
Scotland players after the match
Scotland endured a heart-breaking end to a promising World Cup campaign
RBS Six Nations
Dates: Saturday, 6 February - Saturday, 19 March
Coverage: Live coverage of eight games on BBC One and BBC One HD. All of Scotland's matches live on BBC Radio Scotland. Live text on BBC Sport website

Captain Greig Laidlaw says he will take the pain of Scotland's World Cup exit "to the grave", but believes he can lead his side to Six Nations success.

Laidlaw, 30, pleaded with referee Craig Joubert to consult the television match official after he awarded Australia a controversial late penalty.

Bernard Foley kicked it for a 35-34 quarter-final win, World Rugby later saying the decision was a mistake.

"I'll take that to my grave with me and I say that truthfully," said Laidlaw.

"It's something that as players we know could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It's a career where things turn on small margins. You put your life's work into stuff and for it to end like that is difficult to take.

"But we can't feel sorry for ourselves. We don't deserve anything. Nobody is going to give us anything easy. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us in the Six Nations, and we are not going to feel sorry for ourselves.

"We have to improve, get better and win games of rugby."

Scotland's recent Six Nations record - they have won three games in the past four years, and lost their last seven matches in the championship including a whitewash last year- does not inspire confidence.

Scotland's recent Six Nations record
2015: Won 0 Lost 52013: Won 2 Lost 3
2014: Won 1 Lost 42012: Won 0 Lost 5

But Laidlaw says the growing maturity of the likes of fly-half Finn Russell, centre Mark Bennett, full-back Stuart Hogg and lock Jonny Gray - all 23 or younger - has given belief to the whole squad.

"We have got to be confident, that is probably one thing we have learned from the past," he told BBC Scotland. "We must play with confidence, and the make-up of our group lends itself to that.

"We have confident young players who are averse to some of the pressures, which is brilliant. Some of the boys who have been around for a bit longer are starting to feed off the younger players.

"Scotland can win [the championship]. Nobody knows the make-up of the tournament or the results. What we can affect is ourselves and how prepared we are. When we take the field against England we have to be ready to rock and roll."

Scotland's Six Nations
England (home)6 February
Wales (away)13 February
Italy (away)27 February
France (home)13 March
Ireland (away)19 March

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