Ross Ford: Taking each day as it comes
Ross Ford holds the honour of being Scotland’s most-capped player of all time.
Having made his 110th appearance against Fiji in the third Test of the 2017 summer tour, he reflects on that experience and his return from injury.
It’s been a tough twelve months for Ford after his 2017/18 campaign came to an abrupt end having torn his pectoral muscle in training ahead of last year’s November Tests.
“I came off the back of the summer tour; I was enjoying myself and I was playing good rugby. Then I got injured and lost a whole season so it’s been frustrating, but it has allowed me to freshen up a bit. I came back full of energy and I’m enjoying being back.”
Ford earned his first senior cap for Scotland when he was introduced as a replacement during the opening match of the 2004 Autumn Tests against Australia at BT Murrayfield. It’s an experience he hasn’t forgotten.
“It was quite nerve-wracking to be honest. It’s your first taste of playing in front of such a big crowd. I think before that match the biggest crowd I had played in front of was around 5,000 so to go on to play in front of 67,000 and everyone watching at home was quite daunting. My first match just flashed by and the whole day went so quickly. It was so special.”
In the fourteen years since making his debut, Ford has featured regularly in some of Scotland’s biggest matches. In 2007 he marked his World Cup debut with a try when he appeared as a replacement in Scotland’s 56-10 win against Portugal in St Etienne. He made a successful contribution to the 2009 Lions tour of South Africa and captained Scotland for the first time in the opening game of the 2012 RBS 6 Nations Championship.
Ford led his country to an historic 9-6 victory over Australia in the first Test of the 2012 summer tour to the South Pacific, to the second Test win over Fiji and made it three out of three with the injury time defeat of Samoa.
Having featured in the World Cups of 2011 and 2015, his performance on the 2017 summer tour underlined his ambitions to feature in a fourth Rugby World Cup. He played in all three tests and scored three tries – two against Italy in the series opener in Singapore and the third against Fiji. He says that he’s seen significant changes in the game over the years.
“I think it has really developed and the physicality has gotten so much bigger. The boys are quicker and everything is a lot more dynamic than it was even three or four years ago. The game is a lot more professional now and there are more backroom staff. It has changed from night to day from when I first stepped up to international rugby.”
Ford scored his fifth try for the national side in last summer’s match against Fiji and he says that he loved getting to see more of the country and meet people from local communities.
“They are such friendly people and everywhere you went they were pleased to see you and they came and spoke to you,” he said. “They are just really nice people and also mad for rugby. The kids at the school we visited were just out to play rugby without a care in the world which is what it should be about. It was great to see.”
Ford laughs at the idea he might have a target in mind for how many caps he’d like to achieve.
“I just take each day as it comes and if I get more then that is great,” he said. “We will just have to wait and see. There is obviously a lot of water to go under the bridge between now and Japan so I’ll see what happens and enjoy each day as it comes.”
“I just take each day as it comes and if I get more then that is great,” Ross Ford