Heineken Cup: Laidlaw hails Bradley for Edinburgh progress

Irishman Bradley is in his first season as coach of Edinburgh
Irishman Bradley is in his first season as coach of Edinburgh

Greig Laidlaw says Edinburgh have a good chance of beating Ulster to reach the Heineken Cup final now they have adapted to Michael Bradley's coaching.

Laidlaw supplied 14 points as Edinburgh defeated Toulouse 19-14 24 hours before Ulster ousted Munster 22-16.

"The players maybe never bought right into it at the start of the season," he said of coach Bradley's tactics.

"But now we are really buying into what he's about and that's why we're getting these kind of results."

Edinburgh lie second bottom of the Pro12 - while Ulster are fifth - yet have become the first Scottish team to reach the semi-finals of European club rugby's premier tournament.

"Michael's been hugely important," said Scotland scrum-half Laidlaw. "He has been a breath of fresh air for the club this year.

"He has brought in a sense of real direction on how he wants us to play the game.

Laidlaw (top) celebrates after Edinburgh beat Toulouse
Laidlaw (top) celebrates after Edinburgh beat Toulouse

"We knew before the game we could win as we have a lot of belief in our squad.

"It ranks highly up there as one of the best victories in my career."

Scottish teams have struggled to attract large attendances at their home games, but a quarter-final record crowd of 37,881 turned up to the national stadium to see Edinburgh defeat the four-time champions.

"It was a great achievement for the club and the players were extremely satisfied with their performance and it was great to see a massive crowd at Murrayfield," said Laidlaw.

"It really caught the imagination of the Scottish rugby public this game.

"It just shows that, if Edinburgh, and Glasgow as well, are going to be involved in these big games at the end of the season, I truly believe there is a big support there for the pro teams in Scotland."

Ulster have twice come out on top against Bradley's side in this season's Pro12 ahead of the 28 April meeting at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin - the other semi-final being between Clermont Auvergne and Leinster.

"It is going to be a hard game," said Laidlaw. "Ulster have been playing a lot of good rugby this year.

"They have a massive forward pack, they have some great players in there and some good South African players.

"It will be a tough test for us over in Ireland as well, but it was a tough test on Saturday and we did well against a big Toulouse pack and I thought our forwards were brilliant on Saturday."

Bradley also has belief that his side can reach the final, despite recalling that he described their opponents' March performance in Edinburgh as the best he had witnessed from Ulster in 10 years.

"They are at that level at the moment and they have built this team for an assault on the Heineken Cup over the last couple of seasons with strong recruitment," said the Irishman.

"But you have seen in the Heineken Cup, with the squad we have here at Edinburgh Rugby, we rightly don't fear anybody and we'll be going to the Aviva with every confidence.

"And, if we can put together our gameplan that will and can work against Ulster, then execute it, we'll be fine."

Top Stories