The Scottish Mail on Sunday
Trusty Ford remains reliable for his coach
ROSS FORD may be the veteran of the Scotland team but he is far from finished yet.
Indeed, his two tries against Italy showed the 33-year-old still has a lot to offer new head coach Gregor Townsend.
The oldest man in the starting line-up went over for two touchdowns in five second-half minutes as he rolled back the years with a superb performance.
He will draw level with Chris Paterson on a record 109 Scotland caps if he plays against Australia in Sydney next weekend and, on this form, he is a certainty to be picked.
If he plays against Fiji the following week, he would break Paterson’s record.
‘It was great to get two tries that doubles my Scotland total to four in my 108 matches,’ smiled the Scotland hooker, whose wife is expecting twins in August.
‘Getting them made it a very good night for me and it was also a very good night for the team.
‘We wanted to play at a high tempo to make things difficult for the opposition and I think we did that out there.
‘We fell off the pace that we wanted to keep up at times, especially midway through the first half, but that high-tempo performance paid dividends at the end of the game in what were very tough conditions out here.
‘We handled the heat well but next up we have Australia. But that win is a confidence boost for us going into that match.’
For Italy head coach Conor O’Shea the big problem was his players’ ill-discipline, with two yellow cards and at one stage 15 penalties conceded with hardly any against.
‘Scotland are fifth in the world rankings for a reason,’ he said.
‘They are a good side but the disappointing part was that we gave them the energy.
‘There is no doubt that if you go into half-time still 3-3 then it is an entirely different energy, but we didn’t have that with conceding two late tries.’
The Italians now prepare to face Fiji on Saturday.
‘We will have to look at ourselves, dust ourselves down and get ready to face Fiji in our next game,’ said O’Shea.
‘We know the challenge is hard but we cannot make it as hard for ourselves as we did.
‘It is hard to play any level of rugby without 15 players on the pitch, but you look at the start of the game when we were penalised four times which put pressure on ourselves from the start.’