Edinburgh have received a major boost ahead of Friday night’s RaboDirect PRO12 clash with Ulster after persuading Scotland hooker Ross Ford to pen a new two-year deal.
The British and Irish lion will remain with the capital club until the summer of 2016.
Ford has 75 Scotland caps but was dropped for the final three matches of this year’s RBS 6 Nations after a woeful display as the Dark Blues were humiliated 20-0 by England.
But Edinburgh boss Alan Solomons was eager to retain the 29-year-old’s services.
He said: “Ross is an outstanding bloke and an outstanding rugby player.
“His form for us has been tremendous this season and he has made an invaluable contribution.
“First of all he is genetically gifted. He is a big, strong boy and uses the weight and power that he has effectively. He is exceptionally committed and an absolute professional in everything he does.
“He is a good role model for our younger players and is such a good guy to have in the squad. It’s great that he has committed to us.
“I’ve never heard anyone say a bad word about him and I don’t think they could, he’s just a fine human being.”
Ford said: “I’m really pleased to stay on at Edinburgh. I’ve enjoyed my time here and I really like the coaching style of Alan and the set-up he’s putting in place.
“We’re developing a style that suits us and that’s tough to beat. Alan has worked us hard and I think that, while we still have a bit to go, you can see consistent improvements in our performances.”
Meanwhile, Solomons has made three personnel changes to his team named ahead of the Murrayfield meeting with Ulster.
The club are without rested international trio David Denton, Matt Scott and Greig Laidlaw, but welcome the inclusion of props Willem Nel and Alasdair Dickinson into an otherwise unchanged forward pack.
The third personnel change sees Tom Brown take a place on the wing, having recovered from the thigh strain that kept him out of the Ospreys match.
15 Jack Cuthbert
14 Dougie Fife
13 Sam Beard
12 Andries Strauss
11 Tom Brown
10 Carl Bezuidenhout
9 Grayson Hart
1 Alasdair Dickinson
2 Ross Ford
3 Willem Nel
4 Grant Gilchrist
5 Izak van der Westhuizen
6 Mike Coman CAPTAIN
7 Roddy Grant
8 Cornell Du Preez
16 James Hilterbrand
17 Wicus Blaauw
18 Ewan McQuillin
19 Ollie Atkins
20 Tomas Leonardi
21 Sean Kennedy
22 Harry Leonard
23 Nick De Luca