Ross Ford has paid tribute to fellow front rower Euan Murray who will become Scotland’s most capped prop forward i,f as expected, he is selected against Ireland at BT Murrayfield on Saturday.
In a Test career spanning a decade interrupted by withdrawals from matches played on a Sunday due to religious principals, Murray has made 65 appearances to sit equal with Allan ‘Chunk’ Jacobsen whose innings was declared closed three years ago.
Ford said: “Euan is a good professional and has been around the squad for a long time. He’s been on a Lions tour and has been a cornerstone of the Scottish pack for as long as I have been there.
“Euan deserves to break the record. He is a strong player who is very conscientious. One day he will be able to look back and reflect with pride on all that he has achieved.”
Scotland would dearly love to mark Murray’s milestone with their second successive home win over Ireland and Ford is adamant the team need not be down for long – even after four straight championship losses this season.
“It would be a lot easier if we could win but we are here to win things and that’s why we are in it. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, you still have to get up and get on with it.
“You get up on the Sunday morning and go again, the video analysis and the recovery. We need to be realistic, look at where we aren’t good enough and try to improve.
“We need to stay positive going into the games and we have scored tries during this Six Nations and managed to capitalise on things. It’s a huge positive to know we have pushed good teams close. There is no point getting yourself down as it doesn’t get you anywhere on the pitch.
“It’s about staying positive and getting right back out and going after teams. It would be great to finish the campaign on a high, especially at home.
“It’s a World Cup year so it would be a very positive note to end the Six Nations on.
“It would be a reward for all the hard work the coaches and the players have put in.
“A win would put everyone into a better frame of mind going forward. A lot of the public can see the hard work which is going into things, they see what it means to us.
“We want to see them enjoying the victories along with us.
“They can see an improvement and hopefully they can respect that.
“We want to win for them. We are in a far better place but the game is always moving on so you can’t look back too far.
“What happened a couple of years ago doesn’t stand the test of time.
“Teams are always evolving and we have become better as well. We are scoring a lot of tries and creating a lot more opportunities.
“The margin of victory is very slim and we have come out on the wrong end in this Six Nations campaign.
“But we are not happy and we are not settling for that. This weekend we know Ireland will be very clinical and we know what to expect from them. It’s about doing it minute by minute and not getting too far ahead of ourselves. We need to focus both on defence and attack. We sat off England too much in the second half and when we had the ball we weren’t as pro-active as much as we were in the first half and that told.
“We need to be more pro-active for the full 80 minutes.”
Ford – Scotland’s most capped hooker with 84 Tests under his belt plus one for the Lions – has been in the wars this season with spells out of action at Edinburgh while he had to rest up a back spasm between the Italy and England Tests. Refusing to dwell on any discomfort he said: “It’s international rugby, you need to pull yourself up, there are obviously bumps and bruises but this is the Six Nations.
“We have a good medical staff and they will get us all ready to face Ireland. They have been working overtime but everybody will be fit and ready to go at the weekend again. It’s a physical game, we are all feeling it but it’s about getting back up and reproducing the good things week in and week out. The knocks are coming but you also know what to do to speed up the recovery process to stop it hurting as much.”