Ross Ford throws down gauntlet to Scotland’s new players

Ross Ford is eager to build on his record asScotland's most-capped hooker. Picture: SNS
Ross Ford is eager to build on his record asScotland's most-capped hooker. Picture: SNS
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Ross Ford wants his record-breaking night in Cordoba to be one on which Scotland’s young and inexperienced players rise to the challenge posed by Argentina.

He is due to become Scotland’s most-capped hooker tonight, with his years of service a sharp contrast to the scant time many of his colleagues have spent on international duty.

“I expect Scotland to go out and perform the way we want to, the way we have trained,” Ford said as the team completed final preparations at the Estadio Mario Alberto Kempes.

“We aim to play the brand of rugby that we want against a good Argentina team.

“There is always pressure to perform, it is a new team and there are some new boys in the team, so it is an opportunity to get involved and show they can play the way the coaches want the boys to play. Some boys have had that chance [on the North American leg of the tour] and we are now getting a crack at it. We will go and perform to the best of our ability.”

Ford is among the group taking part in only the second half of the tour. After spending the early days of the month training and preparing at Murrayfield, they flew to Buenos Aires last Sunday, where they were joined on Monday by the core group still on duty after the 19-17 win against Canada.

The two units have spent the rest of the week trying to gel into a single group capable of playing the high-pressure game against the Pumas that Vern Cotter, the new head coach, is demanding, although Ford accepts they are going to have to step up a level from the performance against Canada if they are to keep the winning momentum.

“At the end of the day, the boys got the win,” Ford said. “The way we are trying to play, it puts everybody under pressure; defence and attack. That is the way you win games, by stressing the defence and by trying to play in attack.

“We did force a few errors from ourselves but the boys ground out a win and that is all you can really ask – to win. It was maybe not as pretty as we would have liked, but we can build on the momentum that the boys created on that part of the tour.

“It is a Test match and you go out looking to win it, so we have to go in with confidence. They are a good team, very dangerous players with evasive foot skills, they are very good one-on-one. We will have to pay them respect by going out and performing well.”

It is a landmark game for Ford who breaks Gordon Bulloch’s record as Scotland’s most-capped hooker.

“It has been good, I have enjoyed it. It is good to represent your country that many times and I hope to continue it for a long time to come,” he said.

Argentina: L Gonzalez (Oyonnax); S Cordero (Regatas Bella Vista), M Orlando (Huirapuca), S Gonzalez Iglesias (Asociacion Alumni), M Montero (Pucara); N Sanchez (Beagles Bordeaux) , T Cubelli (C) (Belgrano Athletic); B Postiglioni (La Plata), J Montoya (Newman), M Diaz (Highlanders), M Carizza (Stormers), M Alemanno (La Tablada), R Baez (Liceo), J Ortega Desio (Parana Students), T De la Vega (CUBA). Replacements: S Iglesias Valdez (University), L Noguera Paz (Lince), N Tetaz Chaparro (La Plata), T Lavanini (Hindu), A Ahualli de Chazal (SIC), M Landajo (CASI), M Moroni (CUBA), J Tuculet (Libre).

Scotland: S Hogg (Glasgow Warriors); S Maitland (Glasgow Warriors), N De Luca (Edinburgh), P Horne (Glasgow Warriors), T Seymour (Glasgow Warriors); D Weir (Glasgow Warriors), G Hart (Edinburgh); A Dickinson (Edinburgh), R Ford (Edinburgh), G Cross (Glasgow Warriors), J Gray (Glasgow Warriors), G Gilchrist (C)(Edinburgh), R Harley (Glasgow Warriors), B Cowan (London Irish), K Low (London Irish). Replacements: P MacArthur (Glasgow Warriors), G Reid (Glasgow Warriors), J Welsh (Glasgow Warriors), T Swinson (Glasgow Warriors), C Fusaro (Glasgow Warriors), H Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors), T Heathcote (Bath), D Fife (Edinburgh).

Referee: J Lacey (Ireland)