When Ross Ford came off the bench to win his first cap 12 years ago, he could not have dreamt that another 99 would follow but he insisted yesterday that he hopes to add a good few more.
The Edinburgh hooker will become the third Scot, alongside Chris Paterson (109) and Sean Lamont (105), to reach 100 caps and the first forward.
The 32-year-old from Kelso admitted that his aim was to go past fellow Borderer Paterson and become the nation’s most capped player.
“Hopefully. I feel in good shape,” he said. “If I am playing well enough I will be keep putting my hand up for selection. It is up to me to make that happen for future games and that is something I am willing to do. Retirement is not near yet. I have a few more years left in me.”
In a pleasing piece of symmetry Ford will win his 100th against the same opposition as his first when he takes the field against Australia tomorrow.
Ford came off the bench in the November 2004 Test against the Wallabies and packed down between props Allan Jacobsen and Bruce Douglas. That’s just about as far as the memories of that day go, however.
“My first cap was such a blur,” he said. “All I can remember is that I came on, threw a lineout, came round the tail on the peel and got absolutely emptied.
“All I was worrying about was getting the ball back and once I’d done that I was ‘that’s me staying out of the road’.”
Asked when he started thinking the ton could be on, Ford said: “When I hit the 90s I thought ‘I can maybe get to 100 here’.
“You never try counting them, you never really think about milestones, it’s only when the 50 went by, and then I got to 75 – these weren’t things you were looking for at the outset
“It’’s only when you get into the 90s that you’re thinking there aren’t many people have got in the hundreds. There’s only been two Scottish players before me and I think there have only been 44 in world rugby so it creeps up on you slowly.”
Ford will have extra responsibility tomorrow as he looks to guide his inexperienced props Allan Dell and Zander Fagerson, pictured, through the game.
“It is Delly’s first cap and Zander’s first start but both have been playing well for their clubs,” said Ford.
“It is a matter of getting them in the right frame of mind and getting them through the game to do a good job.”