Laidlaw relishing Lions chance despite tragic circumstances

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Greig Laidlaw is grateful for the opportunity to represent the British and Irish Lions, even though his call-up has come about through sad circumstances.

The Scotland scrum-half was not included in Warren Gatland's original 41-man squad, but was called up on Saturday as a replacement for Ben Youngs, who opted to withdraw after learning that the wife of his brother Tom had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Laidlaw's call added to an already busy schedule for the Gloucester man, who is preparing for Friday's European Challenge Cup final against Stade Francais before he moves to France to play for Clermont Auvergne in the Top 14 next season.

"Everybody's thoughts are with Tom and Ben and their family but it is a great opportunity for myself," Laidlaw said at Monday's player admin day.

"Once training starts I want to get involved and put my imprint on the squad. It's a quick turnaround. I've got a few things on, I'm moving clubs and moving house. It's a busy time but there you are.

"A week is a long time in sport. Off the back of defeat for Gloucester at the weekend I got a call Saturday night about this and was very excited. It's been very busy, a lot of things to be done but it's been good to meet the boys and everybody else.

"Because it's happened so quickly this hasn't sunk in yet. I've a few games left for Gloucester including trying to win some silverware on Friday night so there's that to think about too."

Gatland, meanwhile, said Laidlaw may have been included in the initial party in any event, had he not sustained an ankle injury during Scotland's Six Nations campaign.

"[The conversation with Youngs was] very tough. The most important thing for me is that he puts his family first," Gatland said.

"Having spoken to Ben we were comfortable to call in Greig Laidlaw. He is someone we discussed, the fact he was injured in the Six Nations was why he wasn't in original squad.

"It's not ideal circumstances but it's a good opportunity for him. We are very aware of that, it's a sensitive situation but he has experience and also leadership experience and I'm sure he'll do well."