Laidlaw: Edinburgh must reach next level

Captain Greig Laidlaw called on Edinburgh to perform at a level yet to be reached in a stellar Heineken Cup tournament to date in Saturday's semi-final with Ulster in Dublin.

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Edinburgh beat Racing Metro 48-47 in an incredible group stage contest as part of a memorable run to the last four, which included a sensational 19-14 quarter-final triumph over four-time champions Toulouse at Murrayfield. But Scotland international Laidlaw, who is set to line-up at fly-half, knows Edinburgh must improve again to advance to the Twickenham final.

He said: "The quarter-final win over Toulouse is the team's benchmark in terms of performance. That is our starting point. The commitment and desire to win the quarter-final was immense and is certainly up there with the best performances I've been part of in my time at Edinburgh Rugby."

He added: "We've shown we're capable of delivering on the big stage and this is our latest test, against another very tough opponent, in front of an even bigger crowd and on a bigger stage.

"We are all well aware that we must be at our absolute best, physically and mentally, if we are to have a chance of making the Twickenham final."

Laidlaw was influential in the defeat of Toulouse, creating the opening try, adding a vital drop-goal and producing an accurate kicking display.

Almost 38,000 fans saw Edinburgh defeat the French side and a large Edinburgh contingent will be making the journey across the Irish Sea this weekend, with the club anticipating 41,500 will make the trip to Dublin.

Laidlaw added: "There's a lot of excitement among the fans about heading across to support us, whether it's by car, bus, ferry or plane. The supporters have been incredible and we'll be doing everything we can to give them something to shout about.

"The Murrayfield crowd and the noise they created in the quarter-final was incredible, from start to finish, but towards the end of the game they were just amazing and they should all take pride in the part they played in the win that day.

"We'll need that more than ever in the Aviva. It's a neutral venue in definition alone and Ulster fans will be there in force so we need our guys to take on that challenge off the pitch as we face ours on it."

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