Six Nations 2016: Scotland can beat France and Ireland - Hardie

BBC Scotland's Six Nations Extra

John Hardie says Scotland can finish off their Six Nations campaign with victories over France and Ireland.

The New Zealand-born flanker was part of the Scots' 36-20 win over Italy in Rome, their first Six Nations victory in two years.

"Hopefully now that the pressure is off a bit, we can really express ourselves in our last two games against France and Ireland," Hardie said.

"I think we can now look to end on a couple of really good wins."

Hardie scored his side's second try as Vern Cotter's men put an end to a nine-match losing run in the Six Nations with victory in the Stadio Olimpico. He believes putting that losing streak behind them will give the squad a confidence boost.

Greig Laidlaw
Greig Laidlaw has scored 41 points in three Six Nations matches this season

"We were never too far away," the Edinburgh back-row explained.

"We were just one or two performances away from opening this Six Nations up.

"We tried to stay positive. We knew we were close to a big display and it is great to get that pressure off our shoulders.

"I'm really proud of how the boys did on Saturday. The defence was solid and the attack was really good too. I loved it.

"We're good enough to win these next two games and really push on.

"If we do that I will be really happy with how we are progressing as a team."

Greig Laidlaw delivered a man of the match performance in Rome, contributing 21 points with the boot.

Hardie says it was not only Laidlaw's near-flawless goal-kicking that helped Scotland to victory, but the captain's leadership when the Italians applied the pressure to move within six points in the second-half.

"Tempers flared a bit in the last 10 minutes but that's rugby.

"It was a heated game and Italy were at home - they were always going to make it hard.

"But we came and weathered the storm and ended up running away with it.

"Greig's leadership in those final stages was so important. I came into this environment last year and already I've built up so much respect for the guy.

"He has been so good to me and I've really enjoyed playing under him. I listen to everything he says."

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