Edinburgh’s Greig Laidlaw lays down the gauntlet

Greig Laidlaw celebrates at the final whistl. Photo: Ian MacNicol (Getty Images)
Greig Laidlaw celebrates at the final whistl. Photo: Ian MacNicol (Getty Images)
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Proud Edinburgh Rugby skipper Greig Laidlaw has admitted the pressure of trying get a season up-and-running has been instantly replaced by the need to prove a 29-23 Heineken European Cup win over twice winners Munster was no flash-in-the-pan.

In the course of 80 minutes at Murrayfield on Saturday, Edinburgh went from whipping boys to a team capable of making a continent sit up and take notice.

“We have been under a bit of pressure,” admitted Laidlaw, who contributed 19 points to the win.

But he quickly added: “There is now a pressure of expectation and rightly so because it is a professional game.”

New coach Alan Solomons’ insistence that the late arrival of himself and an assistant, which meant having to play catch-up in terms of preparation, was beginning to grate in some quarters ahead of the win, as Laidlaw acknowledged.

“I didn’t like to keep asking for time, but we’re in a good place now. We are putting something together,” he said.

“The ‘pre-season’ is definitely over. We were not going to ask for that forever, but we did need time to get used to new coaches.

“(So) it’s no surprise we turned up and put in a good performance.”

In the final moments, Laidlaw opted for a long-range penalty kick rather than punting to the corner and trying to win a line-out which would have wound the clock down.

There was an element of risk as Munster could have countered from deep for the seven points they needed.

Laidlaw was clear in his strategy even if the kick rebounded out from the crossbar.

“You either go down the line and eat up the clock or you go for the kick and don’t let Munster get that (losing) bonus point,” he added. “That’s what I was thinking.

“I was trying to knock the kick over to squeeze everything out of the game I could.

“It came up short and on another day we might have kicked down the line. Fortunately the boys defended well.”