Scotland's Laidlaw pinpoints Ireland's depth as Jonathan Sexton misses out

The Scottish captain feels Joe Schmidt can call upon strong deputies

Greig Laidlaw, Scotland, rugby,

Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw at the launch of the 2017 RBS Six Nations Championship at The Hurlingham Club in London today ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw says Johnny Sexton's absence won't make life any easier for his side against Ireland on Saturday.

The Leinster fly half will miss Ireland's Six Nations opener with injury.

Sexton has not played since Leinster's Champions Cup draw with Castres in early January, when he injured his calf. The injury was aggravated on Monday, and he will not be fit in time to face Scotland as confirmed by the Irish setup on Tuesday.

In Sexton's absence, Ulster out half Paddy Jackson is expected to step into the No 10 role at Murrayfield.

Laidlaw says that changes little for the Scottish team against an Irish side they haven't beaten since the 2013 Six Nations.

"I believe that Ireland will probably have known that a lot longer than we have and I'm sure they've been training to cover that up," the 31 year old Gloucester player said of Sexton's absence.

"And they've got quality in behind Johnny Sexton as well. That would be Paddy Jackson or the young fella coming through at Leinster. They've got strength in depth."

Previously Laidlaw had confirmed that Scotland would target Sexton's regular half back partner Conor Murray during the game.

He said: "Will we be putting pressure on him? For sure we will. He’s not going to come to Murrayfield and get an armchair ride.

"We need to do that to every Irish player but we can expect the same back, I’m sure."