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Friday 15 December 2017

Ford believes a Scotland win over Ireland will give them massive boost ahead of World Cup

Scotland hooker Ross Ford believes a victory over Ireland could be their springboard towards the World Cup.

"If we were to win this game going into the World Cup, it would give everyone a boost. We want to finish on a high," he said.

The veteran front row forward falls into the category of viewing the Irish as predictable in what they will bring to Murrayfield.

"This weekend we know Ireland will be very clinical and we know what to expect from them," he stated.

"It's about doing what we have to do minute by minute and not getting too far ahead of ourselves."

It would seem the language of Vern Cotter is aligned with that of Joe Schmidt as Ford preaches the usefulness of "minute-by-minute" focus.

At the moment, the Scots languish alone as the only country without a win from the first four rounds of the Six Nations.

The last thing they want is to feel the sting of the 'Wooden Spoon' for the second time in four years.

They will be encouraged by the fact that they have not been far off, even having the gall to lead England at half-time in Twickenham.

"The margin of victory is very slim and we have come out on the wrong end in this Six Nations campaign," Ford offered.

"But we are not happy and we are not settling for that. We have improved from last year.

"It would be a very positive note to end the Six Nations on.

"It would be a reward for all the hard work the coaches and the players have put in.

"A win would put everyone into a better frame of mind going forward," he said.

The impact of Vern Cotter (r) is visible in Scotland's attack where they have quickly become more direct and more effective, notching up five tries against Ireland's four.

"We are in a far better place but the game is always moving on so you can't look back too far.

"What happened a couple of years ago doesn't stand the test of time. Teams are always evolving and we have become better as well.

"We are scoring a lot of tries and creating a lot more opportunities."

It is in defence where they have struggled to contain the other countries, England making a worrying 22 line breaks without taking full advantage last Saturday.

Scotland have been hit for an average of two tries per game, while Ireland have been mean in that area, losing just two in four games.

"It would be a lot easier if we could win but we are here to win things and that's why we are in it."

The hooker knows that change comes dropping slowly.

Scotland just need that one big win to confirm they are moving in the right direction.

"We need to be realistic, look at where we aren't good enough and try to improve," he stressed.

"We need to stay positive going into the game. Wee have scored tries during this Six Nations and managed to capitalise on things.

"It's a huge positive to know we have pushed good teams close."

They just have to get over the line.

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