TOP BAR - Fixtures

Laidlaw has old teammates in his sights

Greig Laidlaw doesn’t need persuading that he was right to join Gloucester Rugby this season but victory in the European Rugby Challenge Cup Final would help.

Scotland scrum-half Laidlaw arrived at Kingsholm last summer from Edinburgh – the Cherry & Whites’ opponents at the Twickenham Stoop on Friday night.

The 29-year-old made the move, in part, with silverware on the brain and after Edinburgh became the first ever Scottish side to reach a European final, there would be a certain irony if they were to win it.

But it is up to Laidlaw and co to ensure that doesn’t happen and he insists the Cherry & Whites – unstoppable throughout the competition so far despite a frustrating Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign – are in confident mood.

“It’s a final and it’s a big game but I’ve played in big games before so I’m very much looking forward to it,” he said.

“Ironically it’s against Edinburgh, which is a bit funny, but regardless of the result, it was the right decision for me to come to Gloucester.

“I have really enjoyed my first season and I don’t think we’ve been far away. Our league position maybe suggests otherwise but I think, on the whole, we have certainly improved loads as the season has gone on.

“In Europe I think we have played our best rugby and I think we’ll have to do that again on Friday to get the win because Edinburgh have also played very well in Europe and they will be coming into the game with confidence.”

Gloucester’s run to the final has been impressive, collecting 29 from a possible 30 points in the pool before seeing off Connacht in the last eight and Aviva Premiership Rugby title chasers Exeter Chiefs in the semi-finals.

Laidlaw is adamant things are not about to get easier on Friday but after he spent seven years with the BT Murrayfield club, the Scotland international admits his inside knowledge could help navigate the challenge.

“I know individual players better than everybody does down here so that has been handy, just to point out a few specifics and hopefully flag up things certain individuals like to do,” he added.

“I’m solely fixed on getting the victory but as I mentioned to the boys this week it’s going to be a tough, tough game – Alan Solomons (head coach) will have Edinburgh fired up.

“I know how much it means to them but I will be putting my emotion to one side and we, as Gloucester players, want to win stuff as well.

“The scrum has been strong in the last few games but having said that, Edinburgh have got a strong pack as well and they have grown in confidence.

“That forward battle will be key to winning the game and, as always for a scrum-half, if your pack can top it, it makes your job a lot easier.”

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