Laidlaw earns European nomination

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GREIG Laidlaw would not admit it, but there is a sense that the stand-off feels back at home this week.

He has learned bucket-loads from his first Six Nations Championship, and will be better for it but, back sporting the Edinburgh kit, the 26-year-old little general is more comfortable than he was in sunny Rome.

His performances in the Heineken Cup have underpinned Edinburgh’s qualification to the point that he is one of only two Scots in the 15 nominees for the European Player of the Season. The other is his team-mate Netani Talei.

“Obviously, it wasn’t a good Six Nations, but we can’t change that now,” he said. “When things aren’t going well it’s good to get a change.

“At the start of the season we were struggling in the league but the Heineken Cup came up and really refreshed us as a team, and now we find ourselves in a good position.

“It’s going to be different on Saturday. Running out for Edinburgh with over 30,000 will be a great occasion. I’ve played in a lot of pressure games with Scotland and hopefully I can learn from my experiences and bring that back to the club.”

ERC European Player of the Year 2012 nominees: Mouritz Botha and Owen Farrell (both Saracens), Greig Laidlaw and Netani Talei (both Edinburgh), Thierry Dusautoir and Timoci Matanavou (both Toulouse), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Antoine Claassen (Brive), Stephen Ferris (Ulster), Wesley Fofana (Clermont Auvergne), Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff), Jonny Sexton (Leinster), Ignacio Mieres (Exeter), Ben Morgan (Scarlets), Ronan O’Gara (Munster).