Ford wants Edinburgh to rise to Heineken challenge

Ross Ford (left) and Tim Visser. Picture: Getty
Ross Ford (left) and Tim Visser. Picture: Getty
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Edinburgh RUGBY star Ross Ford has warned his colleagues to prepare themselves for an extra challenge in the season ahead.

Noting how Edinburgh had broken new ground by reaching the semi-finals of the Heineken European Cup last term, Scotland captain Ford said the team were now there to be shot at.

“Being drawn alongside Munster, Saracens and Racing Metro means another tough pool in the Heineken Cup,” said Ford.

“We will be looked out for, we will be taken seriously after last year’s performance but it is up to us to not let ourselves down.”

The Euro event kicks off only after Scotland have undertaken a three-match EMC Autumn Test series which pitches them against New Zealand, South Africa and Tonga.

Following recent tour wins over Australia, Fiji and Samoa, Scotland will go into the series looking to win four matches in a row (excluding World cup warm-ups) for the first time in a decade, and Ford said: “It would be good if this became a habit. The boys put in a lot of hard work and showed a lot of spirit and determination to get the wins on tour. When we were under pressure the boys dug in. It has been like that for a while – I wouldn’t have said success was coming if it wasn’t true – and now it can’t be a one-off thing.

“We are under no illusions, though, that we have some work to do still but the work put in on tour was top notch.”

Asked if having the world champions next up at Murrayfield was an advantage in terms of ensuring standards remain high, Ford said: “We have to test ourselves against the best teams and New Zealand are best at the moment.”

Meanwhile, Greig Laidlaw believes Edinburgh’s Euro prospects have been improved by having so many players on the summer tour, including new caps Tom Brown and Tim Visser.

Says Edinburgh skipper Laidlaw: “Our new internationalists will grow up a lot from a tour that was brilliant on the playing side and off the field, too.”

Stuart McInally was also called up to the squad in addition to the eight players capped who will be available to Edinburgh next season albeit he returned uncapped and Laidlaw insisted: “Understanding came through in the tour games and Edinburgh guys will bring that back and draw upon their experiences.

“There will be a lot of new faces at Edinburgh next season but blending everyone together is a challenge we look forward to.”