Ross Ford backs Scotland for good Six Nations campaign

Tonga's Slone Lea (left) and Tukulua Lokotui challenge Ross Ford.
Ross Ford won his 80th cap for Scotland in the victory over Tonga

Ross Ford believes Scotland have shown enough promise in the autumn Tests to be Six Nations contenders.

Scotland beat Argentina and Tonga this month, either side of a loss to world champions New Zealand.

"It's quite possible, there's no reason why we can't," was Edinburgh hooker Ford's reply when asked if Scotland could win the Six Nations in 2015.

"Everyone is improving, we just need to keep pushing each other and make sure we are all playing well."

Scotland could only manage one victory in this year's Six Nations, a 21-20 success in Italy, while there were heavy defeats to Ireland, England and Wales.

Their best recent showing came in 2006, with three wins, while Scotland have not won the tournament since the final Five Nations event in 1999.

"I don't think confidence was low, it's just that things didn't click for us," said Ford of 2014's Six Nations campaign.

"Momentum is a big factor in sport and last time we just didn't get going at all.

"But that's all in the past, the last three games have been good and we need to continue that work."

Vern Cotter succeeded Scott Johnson as head coach in June and led Scotland to summer tour wins in the USA, Canada and Argentina before a thumping loss in South Africa.

Six Nations record since 2010
PWDL
Scotland255020

Scotland ran in five tries against Argentina and Tonga, while there were also positives to take from a gutsy 24-16 defeat by New Zealand.

Set-pieces have been much improved under Cotter, with Ford winning plaudits for his line-out accuracy.

"I've enjoyed the series. It's probably the best I've played for a while," explained the 30-year-old.

"Structures are in place and that creates opportunities for people across the board. If we all work hard for each other, everybody gets the chance to shine."

For all three autumn Tests, Cotter paired Richie and Jonny Gray together in the second row and Ford was full of praise for the brothers.

"Jonny's calling well and we're keeping it pretty simple, which makes my job much easier," he said.

"We've got good jumpers and lifters and it's worked well in this campaign. Jonny and Richie are easy targets to hit."

Cotter selected the same starting XV for the opening matches against the Pumas and All Blacks, while the four changes for the 37-12 win over Tonga were all injury-enforced.

"We've performed well and when you do that you get the opportunity again. If you're not performing, you won't play," added Ford.

"It's up to us as players to push each other to get better and the reward is you get to play the next Saturday."

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