European Challenge Cup: Greig Laidlaw just pleased to be playing again for Gloucester

Gloucester's Greig Laidlaw and David Humphreys
Greig Laidlaw has returned from more than two months on the sidelines
European Challenge Cup
Venue: Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Date: Friday, 12 May Kick-off: 20:00 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and updates on BBC local radio and live scores on the BBC Sport website

Greig Laidlaw says he is thrilled simply to be playing rugby again as he prepares for Friday's European Challenge Cup final at Murrayfield.

The Scotland captain returned from over two months on the sidelines with ankle ligament damage during April.

Laidlaw has been named on the bench for Gloucester in the Murrayfield showpiece against Stade Francais.

"I'm just delighted I'm back playing rugby, back fit, and that's the way I want to be and want to stay," he said.

"It's just about being sharp now when I get opportunities to play."

Should Laidlaw feature in the second-tier European final, it will be his fourth outing since recovering from the injury he sustained in Scotland's Six Nations defeat by France.

'It has been a season of ups and downs'

The scrum-half helped Gloucester lift the Challenge Cup in 2015, beating former side Edinburgh in the final.

And victory on Friday would earn the Cherry and Whites an opportunity to qualify for next season's top-tier Champions Cup competition, via a play-off.

"It's probably been touched on already with my injury that the coaches feel the team's been quite settled," Laidlaw continued.

"It's been tough for me to get some rugby under my belt with the nature of my injury, so I'll play my part.

"We know what it's like to win it and the good feeling that comes with it and, with that, it gives the club an opportunity to get into the Champions Cup as well.

"It's been a busy week, but if we can win on Friday, it'll make it a better week. We're all focused on winning the game."

Greig Laidlaw of Gloucester evades Harlequins' Joe Marler
Laidlaw earned an early call-up to the British and Irish Lions squad after Ben Youngs withdrew

Earlier this month, Laidlaw was added to the British and Irish Lions squad for the summer tour of New Zealand, replacing English counterpart Ben Youngs.

Gloucester currently sit ninth in the Aviva Premiership table and the Jedburgh native, who has 58 Scotland caps, admits it has been a season of highs and lows personally - and for his team.

"I suppose it has been a season of ups and downs - you get injured, you get back, I've been pulled into the Lions squad, which is a great upside, and I'm just delighted to get back fit," Laidlaw said.

"I thought I played pretty well last week [against Exeter Chiefs]; it was good to start and I'm feeling sharper and sharper day in, day out.

"We've had a bit of an up and down season in terms of the Premiership, but winning silverware is what it's all about.

"We'll need a big effort; we're playing a quality team. We need to put in a good performance on the field - if we do that, it's a wonderful track out there. "

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