Laidlaw makes timely return to make bid for BT Murrayfield final

Scotland scrum-half Greig Laidlaw will make a timely return for Gloucester in the European Challenge Cup semi-final this Saturday as the Cherry and Whites bid for a place at the BT Murrayfield final next month (Friday 12 May).

Laidlaw injured his ankle in the 25th minute of Scotland's second round test against France in RBS 6 Nations meaning he has been absent from the west country club since mid-January.

With Callum Braley picking up a knock last weekend against Sale and young Scot Ben Vellacott not registered for Europe, the return of the senior scrum-half could be critical.

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La Rochelle v Gloucester

Saturday 22 April, Stade Marcel Deflandre (kick-off 8pm BST)

This Saturday La Rochelle – Top 14 leader by an impressive 10 points – host 2015 winners Gloucester at the Stade Marcel Deflandre on Saturday 22 April (kick-off 8pm BST).

The match is Gloucester’s fourth semi-final appearance in the competition and they’ve won their last two matches when reaching this stage, however three previous semi-finals in the competition have all been against English Premiership opposition, most recently their 30-19 victory over Exeter on their way to lifting the trophy two years ago.

La Rochelle: Kini Murimurivalu; Gabriel Lacroix, Paul Jordaan, Pierre Aguillon, Vincent Rattez; Brock James, Ricky Januarie; Vincent Pelo, Jeremie Maurouard, Uini Atonio (c), Jone Qovu Nailiko, Mathieu Tanguy, Romain Sazy, Botia Veivuke, Kevin Gourdon. Substitutes: Jordan Seneca, Mike Corbel, Mohamed Boughanmi, Leo Cedaro, Damien Lagrange, Arthur Retiere, Alexi Bales, Savenaca Rawaca.

Gloucester: Tom Marshall; Jonny May, Henry Trinder, Mark Atkinson, David Halaifonua; Billy Burns, Willi Heinz (c); Josh Hohneck, Richard Hibbard, John Afoa, Tom Savage, Jeremy Thrush, Ross Moriarty, Jacob Rowan, Ben Morgan. Substitutes: Motu Matu'u, Paddy McAllister, Yann Thomas, Mariano Galarza, Lewis Ludlow, Greig Laidlaw, Billy Twelvetrees, Charlie Sharples.

Stade Français v Bath Rugby

Sunday 23 April, Stade Jean-Bouin (kick-off: 12.30pm)

Stade Français: Hugo Bonneval; Waisea Vuidarvuwalu, Geoffrey Doumayrou, Jonathan Danty, Djibril Camara; Jules Plisson, Will Genia; Zurabi Zhvania, Laurent Panis, Rabah Slimani, Hugh Pyle, Paul Gabrillagues, Antoine Burban, Sylvain Nicolas, Sergio Parisse (c). Substitutes: Craig Burden, Heinke Van der Merwe, Paul Alo Emile, Pascal Papé, Jonathan Ross, Julien Dupuy, Morné Steyn, Julien Arias.

Bath: Anthony Watson; Semesa Rokoduguni, Jonathan Joseph, Ben Tapuai, Matt Banahan; George Ford, Kahn Fotuali'i; Nathan Catt, Ross Batty, Kane Palma Newport, Luke Charteris, David Attwood, Tom Ellis, Francois Louw (c), Taulupe Faletau. Substitutes: Nathan Charles, Beno Obano , Shaun Knight, Elliott Stooke, Matt Garvey, Chris Cook, Rhys Priestland, Robbie Fruean

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