Rugby: Scotland international Greig Laidlaw to join Gloucester

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First published in Sport

EDINBURGH and Scotland half back Greig Laidlaw will move to Gloucester ahead of the 2014-15 season.

The 28-year-old has skippered Edinburgh for the past three seasons, as well as captaining Scotland in this season's RBS Six Nations matches against England and Italy.

Capable of playing at both scrum half or fly half, Laidlaw will boost Gloucester with his considerable game management skills, accurate goal kicking record and character.

Director of rugby Nigel Davies hailed Laidlaw's signing as another key piece in the Gloucester Rugby plan for next season.

He said: "We see him very much as a nine/ ten, a role that he's fulfilled for Scotland.

"He's exactly the right sort of character that we want to bring in to the squad, he's a natural leader with a fantastic skill set and he impacts games positively. He's also a true 80 per cent plus goal kicker.

"When I went up to Scotland to meet him, he realised where we were and of our desire for him to play both positions. He's happy to do that.

"He's played nearly 40 per cent of his international rugby as a fly half and has a very accurate and astute kicking game.

"And his goal kicking will be absolutely essential for us. When you look at the teams who finish in the top four, one of the things they have is a high percentage goal kicker.

"But, key for me having spoken to Greig, is that he's really keen to get down to Gloucester. He feels that it's the right move for him because of the environment and the club.

"He sees Gloucester as a proper club and wants to play at Kingsholm with the fantastic support that we have. He wants to be successful. And he feels that, with the squad we're putting together for next season, he can do that with us.

"I'm very pleased with where we stand in terms of recruitment. We've one or two other signings that we're still to finalise and several others that we're yet to announce publicly.

"It's been a very positive process as we have a very big opportunity this season to make some changes and it's gone very well for us.”

"I'm also very excited about Greig coming, particularly the way he can work with someone like Dan Robson.

"The opportunities that we can exploit having two such great footballers playing together, is really interesting. In phase play, we can mix things up with those two playing alongside each other.

"In addition to Greig we will also have a number of other exciting options at ten next season including Billy Twelvetrees, Billy Burns and we will look to bring a further experienced 10 into the squad.

Laidlaw, currently a key part of Scotland's RBS Six Nations squad, admitted that he's looking forward to the challenge.

He said: "At this stage of my career, this is a fantastic opportunity and challenge for me. I've thoroughly enjoyed my time with Edinburgh to date, but this is a chance for me to test myself in a completely new environment.

"Gloucester impressed me from the off – the stadium, the training facilities, the heritage and history of the club. A number of my Scotland team mates have played for Gloucester and they had nothing but good things to say about the club.

"When Nigel (Davies) outlined his plans and ambitions for the future, it became a very easy decision. He and everyone there want to see Gloucester competing at the very top of the club game and that's something I very much look forward to being part of.”

Laidlaw has been with Edinburgh since 2006 and was capped at Sevens, under-21 and Scotland A level before he made his full Scotland debut as a replacement in the EMC Autumn Test against New Zealand at Murrayfield in November 2010.

He marked his first start for Scotland with a try, conversion and two penalties in the 13-27 loss to Wales at the Millennium Stadium in February 2012 and has now won 27 caps and scored 235 points for his country.

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