Six Nations: Ross Ford craves Scotland fans' respect

Ross Ford believes Scotland are improving under Vern Cotter
Ross Ford believes Scotland are improving under Vern Cotter

Ross Ford is desperate to earn the respect of Scotland supporters by delivering victory over Ireland in the final round of the Six Nations.

The Edinburgh hooker has started all four of the Scots' championship fixtures to date, all ending in defeat.

"You come back, do your analysis; it's not easy to take," he told BBC Scotland of the successive losses.

"You want to be able to walk down the street with your head held high and have the respect of the fans."

The 30-year-old, who has 85 caps, is adamant Scotland are improving under Vern Cotter despite failing to overcome France, Wales, Italy and England.

"We've moved on," he explained. "We have improved, the state of the Six Nations is that other teams are moving on and improving as well.

"It's a constant evolution, we've just got to turn around the one-score defeats into one-score victories. I hope we can say this tournament is maybe a point where we've developed something, and we were able to stick with it [and] see it through in the World Cup.

Scotland v Ireland in 2013
Scotland beat Ireland at Murrayfield in 2013's Six Nations

"I think the performances we've put in, we've shown what the shirt means to us. The Italy game was probably the most disappointing, I think the games around that we've shown what the shirt means to us.

"That's all we can really do - the work we put in, the skill level we show - give the fans what they want to see."

Joe Schmidt's Ireland are the defending champions, and travel to Murrayfield on Saturday seeking retention rather than redemption.

The visitors are embroiled in a three-way race for the title, sandwiched between first-placed England and Wales in the table, after losing to the latter in Cardiff last weekend.

"This whole Championship we've scored tries," added Ford. "We've found vulnerabilities in every team we've played and been able to exploit it.

"Ireland, defensively, they're very good in the lineout and the scrum's quite good as well. But it's something we'll have to look to get a foothold in the game and establish dominance in that area.

"This week we've got to focus on keeping our lineout functioning well and getting good solid platform from the scrum to attack off. Vice versa trying to destabilise what they do at the set piece, because a lot of what they do is launched off set plays.

"They're a very structured team so we have to be able to nullify that. They pressure you a lot, they try and force errors, keep you pinned in your own half and make you force the game, and you'll have a few errors there. It's about keeping hold of the ball and getting territory, keeping it there and capitalising on your opportunities."

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