Greig Laidlaw ready to seize "great opportunity" after Lions call-up

The Scot replaces Ben Youngs after the England scrum-half pulled out citing family reasons

Greig Laidlaw

Image: David Davies/PA Wire/PA Images

Greig Laidlaw says he's ready to seize the "great opportunity" presented to him following his late Lions call-up on Saturday night.

The Scottish scrum-half replaces Ben Youngs after the England international withdrew from the squad citing personal reasons. The 27-year-old has opted to stay with his family with the news that his sister-in-law, who has been battling cancer for three years, has received a terminal diagnosis.

Lions head coach Warren Gatland was quick to call up a replacement and offered his support to the the Youngs family, something which Laidlaw echoed during a press conference in London this morning.

"Everyone's thoughts are with Tom and Ben and all of the Youngs family," Laidlaw said.

Looking ahead to the Tour of New Zealand, Laidlaw admitted he is ready for the chance to make his mark under Gatland. 

"It's a great opportunity for myself to come in and get my feet on the ground by getting involved in training. I want to try and put my print on the squad. 

"A week is a long time in sport. Straight off the back of a defeat with Gloucester, we probably weren't feeling too good about ourselves to getting the call on Saturday night and being excited about this. 

"It's a quick turnaround."

British and Irish Lions Greig Laidlaw during a media day at the Hilton Syon Park Hotel, London on Monday morning. Image: David Davies/PA Wire/PA Images

Focus

The 31-year-old insisted his focus wouldn't slip from upcoming games, including Gloucester's Challenge Cup final against Stade Français this week.

"Potentially, we have a few games left with Gloucester at the end of the season, our focus will be on that and trying to win some silverware."

Laidlaw also said that the task now was to ensure he remained sharp into the summer, keeping his fitness levels high for next month's tour and continuing his rehabilitation from an ankle injury he suffered during the Six Nations.

"I've been able to focus on my work over the nine week period I was injured, now it's about getting my running back and my sharpness back. 

"I've had two games off the bench and last weekend was the first I've started since I've been back. I've at least one game left, so it's a chance for me to get out there and put in a good performance."