Laidlaw's Edinburgh make Euro history

Edinburgh 19 Toulouse 14: Heineken Cup has first Scottish semi-finalist after Toulouse are vanquished

murrayfield

The countdown clock had less than a minute left on it when Edinburgh's designated water-carrier handed the kicking tee to his captain for the final act. Deemed surplus to playing requirements, despite his collection of 109 Scotland caps, Chris Paterson was wearing a blue bib marked "H2O". Greig Laidlaw was wearing the No 10 shirt but like the rest of his side he was not short of bottle on a momentous afternoon for Scottish rugby.

Victory was in the bag as the scrum-half turned fly-half stepped up and swung his right foot, with Edinburgh 16-14 to the good on the scoreboard. At the precise moment the clock ran down, the ball sailed over the bar and between the posts.

The crowd erupted in celebration. The Scottish national side might have been whitewashed in the Six Nations' Championship but Caledonian rugby has a team in the last four of the Heineken Cup for the first time. Edinburgh and their head coach, Michael Bradley, a former Ireland scrum-half, have a semi-final date in Dublin on 28 April against the winners of today's all-Irish quarter-final between Munster and Ulster.

And deservedly so. Toulouse rolled into town as the giants of European rugby, with their four Heineken Cup wins, but they were cut down to size by an Edinburgh team who kept their composure even after being reduced to 13 men for seven-and-a-half minutes of the second quarter. Edinburgh were astutely marshalled by Laidlaw, who kicked 14 points and produced the kind of inspirational performance his uncle Roy used to turn in routinely when he donned the Scotland scrum-half jersey.

"We have the ability to beat anyone on our day," Bradley said. "We've played a lot of good rugby in this competition and under pressure we've been able to deliver in vital moments. I think the key factor was the crowd – the support we had in that last20 minutes."

The attendance was a record for a Heineken Cup quarter-final on British soil. There were fireworks as the teams ran out and there was an explosive start to follow. With 90 seconds on the clock, Laidlaw launched a garryowen that Timoci Matanavou, the visitors' Fijian right-wing, was unable to gather. Mike Blair picked up the loose ball and twisted over the line. Nigel Owens, the referee, had to consult the television match official but replays showed that the Edinburgh scrum-half had grounded the ball despite the close attentions of his opposite number, the Wallaby Luke Burgess. Laidlaw converted and Bradley's men had a seven-point lead.

The cushion was all but eroded by the right boot of Lionel Beauxis, the Toulouse fly-half banging over a couple of penalties from the left touchline. Then, after 25 minutes, Matanavou took a quick tap penalty and was obstructed from a blatantly offside position by Allan Jacobsen. The loosehead prop was sent to the sin-bin and after Beauxis pushed the penalty wide Toulouse upped the tempo in an attempt to exploit their advantage. They were threatening to break through when Beauxis was halted by Ross Rennie, 25 metres out.

The openside flanker was sent to join Jacobsen on the naughty step, presumably for not rolling away in the tackle, and Beauxis's penalty nudged Toulouse in front by 9-7. With seven-and-a-half minutes to endure with 13 men, it looked bleak for Edin-burgh when Matanavou gathered a loose kick from Blair and galloped 60 metres to score unopposed.

Still, Beauxis failed to nail the conversion and Edinburgh reduced the deficit to 14-10 before the interval, Laidlaw dropping a goal from a neatly worked position.

The fightback continued after the interval. William Servat, Toulouse's veteran hooker, was shown a yellow card for a blatant offside obstruction, and Laidlaw kicked the penalty. The Edinburgh captain kicked another in the 52nd minute, easing Edinburgh in front 16-14, and that Toulouse were rattled was obvious when Beauxis scuffed a penalty, making it three failures with the boot for the out-of-sorts fly-half.

In the final quarter, Edinburgh looked in control. They might have earned a safety cushion with 12 minutes left had Tim Visser, their flying Dutch winger, not been impeded by the slipping Matanavou as he chased a Laidlaw chip down the left touchline.

As it was, they didn't need one. Toulouse failed to register a second-half point. There might have beenlittle joy for the pandas up the road at Edinburgh Zoo last week but there was a joyous climax for Edinburgh's rugby players yesterday.

Edinburgh T Brown; L Jones (K Traynor, 33-35), N De Luca, M Scott (J Thompson 11-17), T Visser; G Laidlaw (capt), M Blair (C Leck, 40); A Jacobsen (Traynor, 60-64), R Ford, G Cross, G Gilchrist, S Cox, D Denton, N Talei (R Grant, 70), R Rennie (S McInally, 70).

Toulouse Y Jauzion; T Matanavou, F Fritz (C Poitrenaud, 51), Y David, Y Donguy; L Beauxis, L Burgess (J M Doussain, 65); J B Poux (D Human, 52), W Servat (C Tolofua, 73),C Johnston (Y Montes, 60), Y Maestri (G Lamboley, 70), P Albacete, J Bouilhou (Tolofua, 48-56; Y Nyanga, 60),L Picamoles (G Galan, 47), T Dusautoir (capt).

Referee N Owens (Wales).

Edinburgh

Try: Blair

Con: Laidlaw

Pens: Laidlaw 3

DG: Laidlaw

Toulouse

Try: Matanavou

Pens: Beauxis 3

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning:The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Sport
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier league

The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action

News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam