GREIG Laidlaw is a player known for his straight-talking honesty, so when he says that Edinburgh are a better team now than they were last season one has to take note.
The scrum-half and Edinburgh skipper admitted that it was hard to talk about positive aspects of his side’s play when they are at the bottom of the RaboDirect PRO12 with one win from five games, and did not attempt to hide his disappointment after a second half in Cardiff that ran away from Edinburgh.
“It is disappointing,” he said, “but we are definitely going in the right direction. It was a good first half from us and our set-piece is better.
“It is all about winning and we’re frustrated that we’ve not won here, but we’re in a better place than we were last year. I truly believe that. You look at our defensive shape, our set-piece. I say again we’ve conceded 29 points and that’s not good, but we stepped up here and competed, and now we have to put in a performance now that we’re into Europe back at home.”
Laidlaw has learned from past comments about officials that it rarely does him any good, but when asked about the decisions of Irish referee George Clancy yesterday, and his ongoing questioning of him, he said: “I thought he was a little bit harsh on us with some penalties and one or two other little things, but when you’re under pressure, that’s often the way the cookie crumbles.
“We had a few penalties against us in that second-half period and I don’t know what the yellow card was for. I thought he was going to sin-bin one of their players, because they were doing a good job of slowing our ball and coming into rucks from the side. But that’s rugby.”
Now, Laidlaw turns his attention to the start of the Heineken Cup and, while Glasgow head to Toulon top of the league and radiating confidence, but underdogs nevertheless, Laidlaw believes that his side could use Saturday’s opener with Munster at Murrayfield as a season’s launchpad. “I am wary of saying too much, because we’ve only won one game so far this season, but I do believe that the next couple of weeks in the Heineken Cup can turn our season around.
“They are tough games [Perpignan are up second] but the first one is at home and that’s important.
“We will put all of our energies into getting a result at home and then if we can do that you never know what can happen in the following weeks.
“I have a lot of faith in this team. I am always wary of asking for more time, because I understand that the game is about winning, but we need to go away and train hard, look at the first half here and the second half and understand what went wrong.
“We are developing good players. I’m a big fan of Harry Leonard’s, who is learning the game, and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Sean Kennedy are really good too.
“We need to keep them going, but it comes back to winning and we’re not getting away from that. We all understand that.
“Hopefully, the fans will come out and get behind us at Murrayfield because we need the supporters right now.”