Rugby: Laidlaw on shortlist for Euro award

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Greig LAIDLAW was today the recipient of huge peer praise on top of a nomination for European Rugby Player of the Year as he prepares to lead Edinburgh into a Heineken European Cup quarter-final at home to Toulouse on Saturday.

The 26-year-old, who has started 10 games for Edinburgh at scrum half and six at stand off, has been put forward for the prize on an initial long list along with team-mate Netani Talei and 13 others including French captain, Thierry Dusatoir and Munster legend Ronan O’Gara.

However, Laidlaw is the only one of the nominees credited with playing in two positions reflecting the fact he started Scotland’s last four Six Nations games at stand off.

Hailing the achievement former Scotland and Lions stand off John Rutherford, said: “I’m not surprised Greig is on the list. He has had a great season.”

Selkirk’s Rutherford, who formed a world record breaking half-back partnership with Laidlaw’s uncle, Roy, from 1980-87, added: “At No 10 (stand off) you are having to make decisions all the time. And you don’t just have to make good decisions – you have to execute them.

“I think Greig is a very good rugby player, a typical Laidlaw! He has a really good rugby brain. He knows how to win a game and I think his decision making and goal kicking have been excellent. On top of that he has a really good temperament.

“Looking back the first time I saw Greig he was playing stand off for Jed Thistle against Selkirk YC in an under-18 match so he learned to move around a while ago.”

Rutherford was also delighted by the nomination of Talei who won a recent Edinburgh “player of the month” award. “It’s great to see Scottish teams getting recognition,” he said.

One player whose emergence has given Rutherford special pleasure is winger Lee Jones, also from Selkirk. “We had a club lunch last Saturday to honour Lee as an internationalist and it is a tribute to him that 200 well wishers turned up. He’s had to do things the hard way without access to academy programmes and has turned out a model professional,” said Rutherford.