George Ford (rugby union)
|Date of birth||16 March 1993|
|Place of birth||Oldham, England|
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|Weight||84 kg (13 st 3 lb) |
|School||Rishworth School, Halifax|
|Rugby union career|
|current team||Bath Rugby|
|Professional / senior clubs|
|Years||Club / team||Caps||(points)|
→ Leeds (loan)
|Years||Club / team||Caps||(points)|
George Ford (born 16 March 1993) is a rugby union footballer who plays at fly-half for Bath Rugby. His brother Joe plays for Sale Sharks. Born in Oldham, Greater Manchester he is the son of Bath Rugby head coach Mike Ford. With a background in rugby league, Ford was involved in the academies at both Wigan Warriors and Bradford Bulls as well as rugby union side Leeds Carnegie before eventually joining the Tigers at the age of 15.
In December 2009, he was nominated for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year.
In October 2011, he became the first Englishman to win the title of IRB Junior Player of the Year, and also became the youngest-ever winner of the award.
On 8 November 2009 he became the youngest Rugby Union player to make his professional debut in England at just 16 years and 237 days old, just a few weeks after he started playing rugby union, when Leicester played Leeds in the LV= Cup. His debut was doubly notable as his brother Joe was also starting at fly-half for Leeds Carnegie that day.
On 27 November 2010 he made his Premiership debut, coming off the bench in a 44-19 victory over Newcastle Falcons. In September 2011, he made his first Premiership start in a 30-28 defeat to Exeter Chiefs. In January 2012 he was loaned out to Leeds Carnegie for a short period, but returned to make his Heineken Cup debut, scoring his first Leicester try in the defeat of Aironi.
On 18 March 2012 - two days after his 19th birthday - he won his first trophy for Leicester. He started in the LV= Cup semi-finals and final, winning Man of the Match in Leicester's semi-final win over Bath  and scoring 16 points in the final as Tigers triumphed over local rivals Northampton Saints.
On 12 May 2012 he put in another Man of the Match performance in a semi-final. A late replacement for the injured Toby Flood, he guided Leicester Tigers to the Premiership final, with a 14-point haul in the 24-15 semi-final victory over Saracens. He retained the starting spot for the final, but his 13-point haul with the boot was not enough as Leicester lost out 30-23 to Harlequins.
In January 2013, it was announced that he would be leaving Leicester Tigers at the end of the season to join Bath Rugby, where his father Mike Ford was Head Coach. Despite this, he continued to play a full part in Leicester Tigers' season, which culminated in the club's tenth Premiership title. Ford came off the bench in the first half of the Premiership final to replace the injured Toby Flood, and scored 12 points in Leicester's 37-17 win over Northampton Saints.
In all, Ford played 40 matches for Leicester Tigers, scoring 253 points and winning two trophies.
Ford started playing for England U18s when he was 15 years old. He later became captain of the team. Ford was a regular in the successful England U18 side from 2008 to 2010. He was first selected for the 2008 end-of-season tour to Argentina at the age of just 15, and was first choice fly-half for the 2009 & 2010 Six Nations and for the 2009 tour to South Africa. He missed the 2010 tour to South Africa due to club commitments and in his absence the team's 3-year, 25-game winning run came to an end with a 23-17 defeat to the hosts.
At the start of the 2010–11 season, still aged just 17, Ford was called into the England U20 squad for the 2011 campaign. He made his debut at fly-half in the opening U20 Six Nations game against Wales, scoring six points in England's 26-20 victory. He went on to start every game in the tournament, winning Man of the Match awards in the victories over France, Scotland and Ireland as England won the Grand Slam.
Despite being the youngest player competing at the 2011 U20 Junior World Cup, he remained first-choice fly-half as England finished in second place following victories over Ireland, Scotland, South Africa and France. The 33-22 loss to New Zealand in the final was the first time that Ford had tasted defeat with an England team since March 2008, when he was playing for the U16s. Such was the standard of his performances, however, that he won the IRB Junior Player of the Year award, beating New Zealanders Sam Cane and Luke Whitelock who were also shortlisted.
In 2012, Ford was made captain of the U20 side, and led England to an impressive 59-3 victory over Scotland in their opening Six Nations match. However, due to club commitments, that was the only match he played in the 2012 Six Nations. George Ford was also left out of the squad for the 2012 Junior Rugby world cup in order to have a full pre-season programme with Leicester.
Despite still being eligible for the U20s in 2013, Ford was instead promoted into the England Saxons when the Elite Player Squad was named at the start of the 2012–13 season.
Ford made his England debut as a replacement against Wales in the 2014 Six Nations Championship. He made a 10 minute performance against Italy, and made a good break to set up a try for Chris Robshaw.
- "RFU Player profiles". web page. RFU. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- Daley, Tom (10 November 2009). "The youngest player to make his professional debut". Switch (BBC). Retrieved 3 August 2010.
- Foy, Chris (20 October 2011). "Ford Win IRB Junior Player". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
- "Leicester Tigers' teenage star George Ford gets thirst for action big stage". Leicester Mercury. 10 November 2009. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
- "Ford seal stunning win over Bath". Leicester Mercury. 10 March 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
- "Leicester Tigers beat Northampton to lift LV Cup". Leicester Mercury. 18 March 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
- "England U18 squad to Argentina named". London Wasps RFC. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
- "England U18 squad to South Africa named". RFU. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "England U18 lose in South Africa". RFU. Retrieved 23 July 2010.
- "George Ford, Six Nations Grand Slam". RFU. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
- "England squad named for JWC 2012".
- "England and Saxons squads named".
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