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Gloucester Rugby: Greig Laidlaw signs for Cherry and Whites

By The Citizen  |  Posted: March 04, 2014

By Mike Brown @citizen_rugby

Laidlaw2

Greig Laidlaw

Gloucester have completed their hunt for Freddie Burns’ successor with the capture of Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw.

The Edinburgh half-back will join the Cherry and Whites in the summer and is viewed as the prime candidate for the number 10 jersey.

Laidlaw, who is equally adept at scrum-half or outside-half, is renowned as a prestigious goal-kicker and is Scotland’s current Six Nations skipper following the repeated omission of Kelly Brown.

Nigel Davies said: “We’ve signed Greig Laidlaw, the Scottish international from Edinburgh, who captained his country in the Six Nations recently.

“We see him very much as a nine stroke ten which is a role he has performed for Scotland. He’s played nearly 40 per cent of his games for them at 10 and is exactly the right kind of character we need to bring in to this group.

“He’s a natural leader, has a fantastic skill-set, impacts games very positively and he’s a true 80 per cent plus goal-kicker.

“He’s got a very accurate and astute kicking game and his goal-kicking will be absolutely crucial for us. If you look at the teams that finish in the back four statistically they have very high percentage goal-kickers

“Greig’s a proper character and will bring a lot off the field. One of the things we’re looking to do is change the environment and culture and we need leaders to do that.

“He wants to be successful and, with the squad we have put together for next year, he feels he can do that with us. He felt it was the right move for him because the environment and club and he cannot wait to play at Kingsholm because of our fantastic support.”

Gloucester have now completed the majority of their recruitment and it is understood another fly-half, scrum-half and outside back have put pen to paper. Davies remains in the hunt for at least two more players, including a second-row.

And while he views Laidlaw as a player that can fill both half-back slots when required, the 28-year-old has been signed as the front-line number 10 to lead Gloucester assault on the Premiership.

The nephew of Scotland great Roy Laidlaw, the diminutive playmaker broke into the Scotland starting line-up as a fly-half and it was only with the emergence of Ruaridh Jackson that he moved inside.

Davies said: “It’s pretty much done, there’s one or two signings we still have to finalise and there’s quite a few others we haven’t publically announced. I’m very pleased with the whole process, it’s been a big opportunity to make considerable changes and it’s gone very well.

“I went up to meet him in Scotland and he understood where we are, needing him to play both positions and he’s happy to do that.

“He’s likely to be our first-choice fly-half on paper but we have a few options there with Billy Twlevetrees, which will give us the opportunity to play Greig at nine.”

With Dan Robson at scrum-half and Laidlaw in the box-seat, Gloucester will possess a pair of players who could comfortably interchange and with a largely reinforced pack the prospect is reminiscent of French packs.

And Davies hopes the 27-cap international will have a similar impact to South African Ruan Pienaar, who performs a similar role at Ulster.

He added: “It’s very much the case and if you look to Ulster closer to home with Ruan Pienaar, I see Greig very much in that vein.

“We’re very excited about that and with someone like Dan Robson the work we can do between them, when they play together, will be very interesting. We can experiment with things going into next year.”

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