Challenge Cup: Greig Laidlaw delighted to win with Gloucester

Scotland international kicked 14 points on way to landing his first major title against his former Edinburgh team-mtaes

Gloucester scrum-half Greig Laidlaw admitted his delight at getting one over his former club to win the European Challenge Cup.

The Scotland international swapped BT Murrayfield for Kingsholm last summer in a quest to win silverware and it came at the first attempt with the Cherry and Whites surviving a troubled second half to win 19-13 at the Twickenham Stoop on Friday night.

I still have some good mates at Edinburgh, and I’m a humble person, so it’s tough to see them at the end, but I came to Gloucester to win things and I’m delighted to be able to do that.

Greig Laidlaw on Gloucester’s European Challenge Cup win

Laidlaw kicked 14 of his side’s points as they built up a 19-6 lead after England centre Billy Twelvetrees scored their only try of the game in the first half.

A dominant first-half performance saw the Aviva Premiership club go in at the break 13-6 up, but it could have been a lot more had it not been for a last-ditch ankle tap just metres from the tryline by Edinburgh back-row forward Cornell du Preez to bring down England winger Jonny May, who had made a searing break from his own half.

Despite his personal achievement, Laidlaw added that it was difficult to see his former team-mates disappointed after the match.

“I was delighted to win the game,” he said.

“Obviously it’s my first season at the club, and we’ve won a good competition, so I’m very happy.

“I still have some good mates at Edinburgh, and I’m a humble person, so it’s tough to see them at the end, but I came to Gloucester to win things and I’m delighted to be able to do that.”

Despite a healthy lead, Gloucester almost threw away their first title since 2011 after flanker Ross Moriarty was sin-binned for a knee in the back of Edinburgh lock Fraser McKenzie.

I thought we showed great character to get the turnover in the 22 and then grab a bit of field position, and that secured us the game at the end.

Greig Laidlaw

Worse was to come for David Humphreys’ men when, with Moriarty still on the sidelines, centre Bill Meakes was red carded for a high tackle off the ball on opposite number Sam Beard, on the recommendation of French TMO Eric Gauzins.

Edinburgh capitalised with a try through hooker Ross Ford, converted by Sam Hidalgo-Clyne to take the score to 19-13, but the Scots couldn’t make their numerical advantage count in the Gloucester 22 in the closing stages.

Laidlaw conceded that it was a tough night for the officials, but praised his team-mates for their resilience in the final quarter to secure their second European title at the Stoop after their 2006 success at the same venue.

“It was tough, and the referee had a tough time as well,” he added.

“The scrum penalties were toing and froing, Edinburgh slowed our ball up a fair bit, but when we got quick ball we opened them up a few times.

“Credit to Edinburgh once we went down to 13, 14 men, they started to open the ball up and stretch us, but I thought we showed great character to get the turnover in the 22 and then grab a bit of field position, and that secured us the game at the end.”

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