Ross Ford tells Edinburgh to keep motoring on

Edinburgh were heavily motivated to beat Munster at Thomond Park in Limerick last weekend, says Ross Ford, below.  Main picture: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
Edinburgh were heavily motivated to beat Munster at Thomond Park in Limerick last weekend, says Ross Ford, below. Main picture: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
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Ross Ford wants Edinburgh to keep updating the rugby record books when Connacht visit BT Murrayfield in the Guinness Pro 12 on Friday.

Not only was last week’s opening 14-13 success the Lions hooker’s first in Munster, but it was the first occasion since 2005 that Edinburgh had started with an away win.

Now comes the challenge of posting back-to-back victories for the first time since 2005. Told also that it was the first occasion Munster had lost three successive home matches in the pro era, Ford said: “That makes me feel even better about what happened.”

Ford went on to reveal the motivation behind the victory in recalling that awful 12-55 hammering inflicted when the teams met at Meggetland in the second last match of 2013-4.

“That was embarrassing and we really took it to heart. So, the visit to Munster last Friday was personal.”

Within minutes of a score being settled, thanks partly to Munster missing a last-kick penalty, Ford – and the Edinburgh team – were looking ahead.

“I looked at Munster’s final penalty (from the bench after a 61-minute shift), but I didn’t really know what to think when Ian Keatley lined up the kick.

“It would have been so frustrating to have lost, but we didn’t and right afterwards Mike (Coman) said ‘in the past we’ve had successful games and then kind of let ourselves down so consistency will be the key to improvement’.”

Connacht have also opened with a win – 16-11 against Newport Gwent Dragons – and Ford knows the men from Galway have proved a banana skin at times, always punching above a weight determined by their development status compared to the other Irish provinces.

“Connacht are a very hard team to beat because they never give up,” said Ford, adding: “They like to play the underdog card, but the truth is, they are a very dogged team to the end.

“(Coach) Pat Lam has got them starting to play a wee bit more rugby. We’ll do our homework and make it hard for them to handle.

“Last week we recognised there was a chance to start by doing something special and the first 15 minutes set the tone when we knocked them back in the tackle.

“We upped the standard of our attack, but at the same time we need to create a lot more because we left two or three tries on the pitch.

“Okay, we had two tries disallowed, but that is allowing for that.

“We knew even when we were ahead that Munster are a proud team and would not want to let themselves down, especially at Thomond Park.

“If we had limited our silly errors we wouldn’t have had to rely on them missing a kick at the end.”

If that acknowledges at more to come from Edinburgh, strongman Ford hints that more is less so far as his new Samson-esque beard is concerned.

Surely he cannot remove it and risk breaking the karma with Edinburgh going so well?

“No, it can’t come off just now, and we can still keep winning with me wearing it – even if does have to get a wee trim sometime!”

Meanwhile, having now ended a run of five successive Pro 12 matches with what was their first victory in 23 visits to Ireland (the last was as Connacht in December 2012), Edinburgh can expect to encounter a revitalised force.

BT Murrayfield will hold few fears for Connacht after notching their last win on Scottish soil there two seasons ago, but personnel have changed considerably.

For starters, there is no Dan Parks, the Scottish international stand off having retired. But Ford is still wary and rightly so.

Kiwi flanker Jake Heenan has returned from shoulder surgery and can pose a considerable threat, while forwards John Muldoon and Quinn Roux are expected to shake off minor knocks sustained in the win over Dragons.

One of the heroes of last week’s Edinburgh win was Tom Heathcote, and the stand off who slotted three penalties on his debut hopes there will be a carry over in terms of attendance this Friday.

Edinburgh’s highest attendance for an opening Celtic League or Pro 12 encounter at home is 5443 – against Munster in 2008.

Heathcote wants to challenge that figure and says of the win in Limerick: “We want to build on this now. There are plenty of things to work on, but plenty of good things as well.

“The forwards worked really hard, both in attack and defence.

We gave them a lot of work to do in attack, and they really fronted up and did really well – and defensively from the whole team, we pride ourselves on that and I was really impressed with the whole performance.”