Former Scotland captain Ross Ford is set to renew a contract with Edinburgh Rugby, the Evening News can reveal.
Sources close to the international camp – Ford was an unused substitute for Saturday’s Six Nations win over Italy – say the hooker has agreed terms and will stay at Murrayfield for the foreseeable future.
For most of this season, it appeared that Ford would be on the move but a dip in form, which led to him losing his Test place after 73 caps, may have been a factor in deciding to remain and battle back in the knowledge that, at 29 years old and with the experience of a Lions tour in 2009 to draw on, there is plenty of quality rugby left in him. The decisionto stay will also provide some identity to an Edinburgh pack increasingly subject to an influx of foreigners, notably South Africans.
Indeed there is an element of irony in Edinburgh now earning themselves the nickname “Porage Free State” due to the mix of Scots and South Africans; until recently Ford was the commercial face of an oat-milling company.
Previous coach Andy Robinson’s first signing for Edinburgh back in 2007 from the now defunct Border Reivers, the one-time flanker has gone on to make 77 league appearances for the Region.
In addition Ford has turned out 40 times in European competition for the Capital outfit.
In re-signing, Ford, captain of Scotland on the unbeaten Southern Hemisphere tour of 2012, follows the likes of Dave Denton and Tim Visser who have committed until after next year’s World Cup and his presence will assist the development of up-and-coming talent.
While his understudies this season have been a veteran Tongan, Aleki Lutui and a Scots qualified Australian, James Hilterbrand, Ford spoke recently of his admiration for the Heriot’s youngster, George Turner. Next season, too, should see the completion of a switch to hooker for Stuart McInally, currently on loan at Bristol, and the Watsonian prodigy has spoken at length about the technical assistance received from Ford. Neil Cochrane has also signed from Wasps.
Meanwhile, as Ford prepares for a further stint Edinburgh are saying farewell to another international hooker, Steve Lawrie – as has nine times capped centre Ben Cairns, also with a knee injury.