Laidlaw returns for derby to begin farewell tour

Edinburgh will welcome back captain Greig Laidlaw to the starting line-up for tomorrow night’s 1872 Cup derby decider with Glasgow Warriors.

Greig Laidlaw in action for Edinburgh Picture: SNS

The Gloucester-bound Scotland scrum-half was given a six-week break following the recent RBS 6 Nations and the national side are hoping to have him fully fit and rested in time for their summer tour to North America, Argentina and South Africa.

Before that, he comes back into the fold to lead Edinburgh for their final three games of the season, starting with the decisive derby clash against the Warriors – which doubles as a RaboDirect PRO12 fixture.

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The Murrayfield outfit can also call on forward trio Grant Gilchrist, Izak van der Westhuizen and Alasdair Dickinson, who were unavailable to play last Saturday through injury.

The remaining two squad changes see back row Cornell Du Preez return to the starting line-up and stand-off Piers Francis reclaim a spot on the bench.

Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons said: “I think this is a fantastic way for Greig to finish his time with Edinburgh Rugby, first to lead the side against Glasgow in this derby match, then again against Munster in our last home game of the season and then away against a top European side like Leinster.

“He will add a lot of value to the team with his experience and leadership and, while your first game back is always tough, he has a good temperament, is a good player, and is the kind of individual that will give a good account of himself.”

While challenging for PRO12 points and improving on their recent poor form is the priority for the visitors, the Warriors have the edge in the aggregate 1872 Cup encounter following their 20-16 Boxing Day win at Murrayfield.

The visitors therefore need to win by five points if they are to shift the silverware back along the M8 this weekend, as an aggregate draw would see it retained by the hosts.

Solomons added: “Glasgow are good side and have generated a lot of confidence in the last few weeks with a lot of fantastic wins, including beating Munster away and Ulster at home.

“They are fighting for a home semi-final in the PRO12 and will come out all guns blazing, let alone that this is a derby.

“There’s 140 years of tradition in this match, so there’s no doubt it’s a game for which our players are always excited and look forward to. We will give absolutely everything to ensure we produce a good performance.”