Scotland’s most-capped player Ross Ford has announced his retirement from rugby.
The hooker made 110 caps across 15 years and also featured for The British & Irish Lions during their 2009 Tour of South Africa.
The 35-year-old announced he was leaving Guinness PRO14 side Edinburgh Rugby a couple of months ago and has now decided to hang up his boots for good, taking on a new role as strength and conditioning coach at the Fosroc Scottish Rugby academy.
“I always enjoyed the S&C side of things. It was always a big part of my game and it was something I was good at,” he said.
“Later in my career, I took a big interest in it and it became something I wanted to do after I finished playing, so I was really keen when this opportunity came up, especially being a Borders lad as well.
“There’s a lot of talent here, so if I can help them develop and make this one part of their game world-class then, hopefully, they’ll come through and go on to bigger and better things.
“I’m looking forward to getting in there and passing on some of the things I’ve learned, and showing a level of work ethic they can follow [to] stand them in good stead to be the best player they can be, setting the tone wherever they go.
“I’d like to think I’m in a good place to pass a lot of that on, so it’s quite an exciting time. It gives me something to go into with a lot of energy and will allow me to keep getting a buzz from the game.”
Ford initially broke through with Border Reivers and impressed enough to be called up by Scotland for the 2004 Autumn Internationals, making his debut against Australia.
His second cap did not come until more than a year later when he featured in the 2006 Six Nations against Wales and England.
Injury prevented him from touring South Africa that summer but he quickly established himself as one of the premier hookers in the game after a stellar 2007 Six Nations, going onto captain his country during the Championship five years later.
“I’ve been very fortunate,” he added.
“I’ve had a long career in the sport and have been able to represent my country at the highest level, playing in a lot of great places around the world.
“I’ve met some characters along the way and overall just feel very lucky to have played a sport that I love and make a living in the process.
“I never had any specific targets in mind, [reaching 110 caps] just kind of crept up on me.
“I recognise it as a big achievement but it’s just something that came hand-in-hand with playing the sport.
“Mossy [Chris Paterson] got over 100 and Sean [Lamont] is up over 100 as well. I never set out to get to get certain number or beat them. I just kept playing because I was enjoying it.”