Edinburgh hooker Ross Ford accepts a 34-3 home trouncing was not the best preparation for a European Challenge Cup semi-final, but is sure the team will bounce back and put in an improved display on Friday.
Munster proved far too strong for the hosts at a chilly BT Murrayfield on Saturday, while Friday’s opponents Newport Gwent Dragons enjoyed a morale boosting win over Leinster in their Guinness PRO12 match on Sunday, and Ford knows there will have to be a reaction.
“It’s a semi-final so it’s a massive game for the club,” said the Scotland international yesterday. “We’ve got to perform like we know we can. The Munster game has brought us back to earth but we just need to focus on what we can improve in the short training time we’ve got.”
The comprehensive defeat to the Irish giants, who moved up to second as a result, put the brakes on something of a recent Edinburgh bandwagon which had seen them score impressive wins in the league and a dramatic 23-18 win at London Irish to seal their place in Friday’s semi-final.
“We didn’t perform that great against London Irish either to be honest but I think against Munster we had come off the back of two big away victories [at Scarlets the week before the Challenge Cup quarter-final] and we maybe just took our eye off the ball.”
International No.8 David Denton took a head knock early in Saturday’s match and is now following the return to play protocols to see if he can play any part against the Dragons. But Edinburgh are confident both skipper Mike Coman, for whom Ford has been deputising, and scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, will be back in the reckoning.
There was some disappointing, if not wholly unexpected, news for the capital club yesterday when it was confirmed that Scotland centre Matt Scott will play no further part in the season after undergoing shoulder injury. An Edinburgh statement read: “Following an injury to his left shoulder, sustained during the final game of the RBS Six Nations, centre Matt Scott underwent surgery last week.
“It had been hoped that Matt would be able to manage his injury conservatively but following consultation with specialists at Spire Murrayfield the decision to perform an investigative arthroscopy was taken. This resulted in him requiring a further surgical procedure to help deal with his shoulder complaints.
“Matt will now continue with his rehabilitation programme with the Edinburgh Rugby medical team and will be unavailable to play for Edinburgh for the rest of the season.”
Ford, meanwhile, is looking forward to an exciting occasion on Friday and hopes the team will be backed by a big crowd in their bid to seal a historic place in a European final.
He said “It will be great fun to get a good crowd in and have the atmosphere that you can get when the stadium is a bit more full than it is for the normal league games. Hopefully people will come along on Friday, we get a good turnout.
“The boys are excited about the thought of making a final. It’s good to have that feeling amongst the players and the fans you speak to.”