Saturday 23 September 2017

Ford confident Edinburgh can shift up gears to manoeuvre past Munster

Hugh Farrelly

EDINBURGH hooker Ross Ford is backing the Scots to get their season up and running tomorrow night by "seeing off" Munster at Murrayfield and believes they can do so in style, rather than relying on the boot of Chris Paterson.

Ford and his team-mates went down 34-23 in Cardiff last weekend but earned praise from Blues coach Dai Young for their attacking play, which saw prolific winger Tim Visser cross for two tries. Edinburgh ended a home losing run of four matches against Munster with a 12-7 win last season -- courtesy of four Paterson penalties -- and Ford feels they can build on that result with a more expansive approach.

"Munster are a very good team with lots of experience and some young players learning from the older hands," said Ford.

"But we beat them last year at home and hopefully we can do it again, this time scoring tries. It's certainly a good starting fixture for Edinburgh because to see off opponents of their calibre sends out a positive statement right at the beginning of the campaign.

"Two of the tries Cardiff scored came from our mistakes. We put some good phases of play together. But when we got to their '22' we took the pressure off. It is about trying to sustain that performance through 80 minutes by being more accurate and consistent."


Munster had an accomplished first outing against Italian newcomers Aironi at Musgrave Park, securing a bonus-point victory against tough opponents on an evening when Tony McGahan's men reasserted traditional forward dominance -- notably through their powerful scrummaging effort.

Edinburgh coach Rob Moffat has picked a powerful pack to take on the visitors with Ford packing down in front of Argentina lock Esteban Lozada, making his competitive debut, and No 8 Netani Talei, who put in an impressive display against the Blues.

At 6'2" and nearly 18 stone, the 15-times capped Fijian is a powerful ball-carrier and Ford believes Talei can put the home side on the front foot against Munster.

"The ball-carries by Netani was into double figures, possibly the high 20s," said Ford. "He is a great player and a very powerful No 8."

Munster's victory over Aironi ended a four-game losing run in all competitions but they have not won outside Ireland in the league since a trip to the Scarlets in September last year -- and have won just one of their last five encounters against Welsh opponents: 23-17 over Scarlets in Cork last March.

Meanwhile, Munster have selected a powerful squad for the 'A' match against Leinster at Donnybrook on Sunday, with No 8 James Coughlan back after injury.

details in FACTFILE

Irish Independent

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