Greig Laidlaw is third Scotland player to announce international retirement after World Cup

Only Chris Paterson (809) has more points for Scotland than Laidlaw's 714
Only Chris Paterson (809) has more points for Scotland than Laidlaw's 714

Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw has announced his retirement from international rugby after 76 caps.

The 34-year-old Clermont scrum-half is second on the all-time points list for Scotland with 714.

Laidlaw has led the national team 39 times, more than anyone else, and becomes the third senior player to quit the national team after the World Cup.

"It's probably one of the hardest decisions I've had to make," he told Scottish Rugby.

"I feel it's the right time, for me as a player and a person and us for a family, and for the Scotland team as well.

"It's never going to last forever and I've always been passionate about you only ever getting a certain amount of time in the jersey and you need to give they jersey everything you can. I've done that."

Both flanker John Barclay, who also had a spell as captain, and wing Tommy Seymour have already announced their international retirement this month as a new World Cup cycle begins.

Laidlaw followed in the footsteps of his uncle, Roy Laidlaw, when he made his Scotland debut against New Zealand in 2010 while playing for Edinburgh.

In the nine years since, he has been a mainstay of the squad while also playing club rugby for Gloucester and Clermont, playing in two World Cups.

Also capable of playing as a fly-half, Laidlaw became only the second Scotsman, after Mike Blair, to be nominated for World Rugby's Player of the Year in 2015 as he captained Vern Cotter's Scotland to the quarter-finals of the World Cup in England.

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Chris Patterson pays tribute to Greig Laidlaw after his retirement was announced.

He was also part of the British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand in 2017 but did not earn a Test cap.

"Greig has been an outstanding servant for Scottish rugby, through the passion and skill he displayed when wearing the thistle on his chest and also on the many occasions he led the side," said Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend.

"That he began his Scotland career at stand-off before claiming the number nine jersey shows what an exceptional rugby player he is and was for Scotland and, to be captain on so many occasions, rightly places him alongside the best players to ever led the national team."

As his starting berth for Scotland increasingly came under threat from Glasgow Warriors scrum-half Ali Price, Laidlaw lost the captaincy to Stuart McInally for the World Cup in October but played three of four pool matches, including the crucial decider against Japan, as he reclaimed the armband when McInally was dropped.

However, after Scotland failed to progress, Laidlaw intimated he would consider his international future and joins Barclay and Seymour in calling time on his Scotland career, with Price and Glasgow team-mate George Horne likely to be the scrum-half options for the Six Nations in February.

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