Ross Ford is preparing to embark on another season at Edinburgh Rugby with special memories of tomorrow’s opening opponents.
The Capital outfit take on Leicester Tigers at Melrose in their initial warm-up, a match guaranteed to rekindle memories of how, when the teams last met in 2008, Ford scored what was eventually voted Scottish rugby’s try of the season.
While acknowledging that the touchdown helped Edinburgh to a Murrayfield victory that at least partially offset a 39-0 Heineken Cup defeat by the same opponents a week earlier, Ford was typically more enthusiastic about looking ahead.
And that meant insisting that he plans to remain at Edinburgh at least until there is a trophy on the mantelpiece.
With his signature on a new two-year contract, Ford admits he is more settled at Edinburgh than for some time, while still retaining plenty of ambition.
“I am quite happy. I like Alan [Solomons] who is a good coach and Omar [Mouneimne] has been good with the forwards,” said Ford. “I like the coaches and I want to see Edinburgh go somewhere and achieve something before I finish.
“It would be nice one day to maybe play somewhere warm, but I’m quite happy here just now.”
That was a clear hint that Ford is likely to emulate former Scotland colleague Mike Blair, who moved from Edinburgh to France for a spell before returning to the English Premiership.
If and when that happens Ford, now 30, will be well equipped for any extra physicality given the new fitness regime in place at Edinburgh.
“Leicester are renowned for their physicality,” Scotland’s most-capped hooker said. “In fact, I think Alan deliberately chose them as opponents because they have a good mauling pack.”
After arriving late last year, Solomons had no time to shape or prepare his squad, but Ford says the building blocks are now in place.
“We’ve all had time to get used to Alan’s strategies and hopefully we are all further down the road than at the same stage last year,” he said.
“I had three weeks off after returning from the second half of the Scotland tour and I’m keen to get going. Any longer off and I just get bored.”
Leicester have already had a run-out against a Nottingham XV, but coach Richard Cockerill is planning on sending the majority of his full squad up to the Greenyards for tomorrow’s clash (kick-off 2pm).
“This will be a good test to see where we are physically and tactically,” reckoned Ford, “but everybody is putting in a lot of hard training, so we should be in a good place.
“We want to start the season well and there is no point looking any further than next game which is a good test against Leicester.
“Last time we got thumped down there, but came back a week later and beat them.
“That proves we can do it, but hopefully we will do the job this time straightaway.”
Edinburgh face Newcastle at Hawick next Friday then head off to Munster in a repeat of last year’s PRO12 opener.
“We might as well test ourselves early on, same as last year” added Ford.
“It wasn’t the result we wanted in Munster last year, but we knew where we were and what we needed to work on.”
• ROSS FORD was speaking on the day of the new Edinburgh Rugby kit. For more details, visit www.edinburghrugby.org