George Ford (rugby union)

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George Ford
Birth nameGeorge Thomas Ford
Date of birth (1993-03-16) 16 March 1993 (age 28)
Place of birthOldham, England
Height1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight87 kg (13 st 10 lb; 192 lb)[1]
SchoolRishworth School
St George's School, Harpenden
Notable relative(s)Mike Ford (father)
Joe Ford (brother)
Rugby union career
Position(s) Fly-half
Current team Leicester Tigers
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2009–2013 Leicester Tigers 42 (253)
2012Leeds Carnegie (loan) 2 (5)
2013–2017 Bath 90 (972)
2017– Leicester Tigers 57 (671)
2009– Total 188 (1,854)
Correct as of 18 October 2020
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2008–2010 England U18 14 (30)
2011–2012 England U20 11 (143)
2013 England Saxons 2 (0)
2014– England 76 (308)
Correct as of 6 December 2020
Ford playing for Leicester Tigers (2012)

George Ford (born 16 March 1993) is an English professional rugby union player who plays at fly-half for Leicester Tigers and England.

Born in Oldham, Greater Manchester, he is the son of former Bath Rugby head coach and former Rugby League legend Mike Ford.

Early life[edit]

Ford played rugby league from age 5 at Saddleworth Rangers and Waterhead and as a young teenager played in the academies at both Wigan Warriors and Bradford Bulls.[2] It was thought that he would go on to have a career in rugby league however he started playing rugby union aged 11 at Rishworth School and played for Leeds Carnegie, before eventually joining Leicester at the age of 16 and subsequently signed professional forms with them.[3] He played for England Under 18s at just 15 years of age. Bobby Walsh, one of the underage coaches at the time, remarked that he reminded him of a "young Cian Harrington" - another youth player who made the switch from league to union.[4] He then went on to captain the team in 2009/10 before moving up to the Under-20s where he started every game in a Six Nations Grand Slam, contributing 76 points. Ford then helped England to the World Juniors Final in Italy in the summer of 2011.[5][6]

In December 2009, he was nominated for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year.[3] In October 2011, he became the first Englishman to win the title of World Rugby Junior Player of the Year, and also became the youngest-ever winner of the award.[7]

Club career[edit]

Leicester Tigers[edit]

On 8 November 2009, Ford became the youngest rugby union player to make his professional debut in England, breaking the record of international teammate Owen Farrell, at just 16 years and 237 days old when Leicester played Leeds Tykes in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.[8] His debut was doubly notable as his brother Joe was also starting at fly-half for Leeds that day.[9]

On 27 November 2010 he made his Premiership debut, coming off the bench in a 44–19 victory over Newcastle Falcons to become the third youngest player in Premiership history, he has since dropped to fifth youngest.[10][7] In September 2011, he made his first Premiership start in a 30–28 defeat to Exeter Chiefs, becoming the youngest player to start a Premiership match at fly half.[11][12] In January 2012, he was loaned out to Leeds Carnegie for a short period,[13] but returned to make his Heineken Cup debut, scoring his first Leicester try in the defeat of Aironi.[14][15]

On 18 March 2012 - two days after his 19th birthday - he won his first trophy for Leicester. He started in the Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-finals and final, winning Man of the Match in Leicester's semi-final win over Bath[16] and scoring 16 points in the final as Tigers triumphed over local rivals Northampton Saints.[17][18]

On 12 May 2012, he put in another impressive 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.[19] 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.[20]

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 at the time assistant coach.[21] 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.[22]

In all, Ford played 40 matches for Leicester Tigers, scoring 253 points and winning two trophies.[citation needed]

Bath[edit]

On 23 January 2013 it was announced that Ford was to leave Tigers at the end of the season, to join Bath Rugby.[23] On 22 May 2014 Ford started for the Bath side that lost to Northampton in the final of the European Challenge Cup at Cardiff Arms Park.[24] The following season Ford scored eleven points in the 2015 Premiership Final as Bath were defeated 16-28 by Saracens to finish runners up.[25]

After his father Mike was sacked as head coach, Ford was linked with a move away from the club and in December 2016 Sale Sharks Director of Rugby Steve Diamond confirmed his interest in Ford.[26]

Return to Leicester[edit]

On 14 February 2017, it was announced that George Ford would be moving to former club, Leicester Tigers as part of a swap deal with Freddie Burns, at the end of the season.[27]

England career[edit]

England U-18[edit]

Ford started playing for England U18s when he was 15 years old. He later became captain of the team.[1] 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,[28] 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[29] 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.[30]

England U-20[edit]

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.[31] 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.[32]

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[6] 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 World Rugby Junior Player of the Year award,[7] 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.[33] However, due to club commitments, that was the only match he played in the 2012 Six Nations. 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.[34]

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.[35]

England[edit]

Ford made his England debut as a replacement against Wales in the penultimate round of the 2014 Six Nations Championship as England claimed their first triple crown in over a decade.[36] The following weekend saw him make a ten minute appearance against Italy in which he made a good break to set up a try for Chris Robshaw as England finished runners up.[37]

On 6 February 2015, he was man-of-the-match in England's win over Wales in the opening match of the 2015 Six Nations.[citation needed] He scored his first International try in the penultimate round against Scotland.[38] In the final game of the tournament he scored 25 points including a try in England's thrilling 55–35 win over France as they finished runners up again.[39]

Ford was named in Stuart Lancaster's 31-man squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.[40] He was picked to start in the tournament opener against Fiji as England won 35–11,[41] however, one week later, Ford was dropped in favour of childhood friend Owen Farrell.[42] England were subsequently knocked out in the pool stage,[43] becoming the second after Wales, as host nation to fail to qualify for the knock-out rounds of their own tournament. The 1991 tournament was jointly hosted between Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland and France.

Following the departure of Head Coach Stuart Lancaster, Ford was selected in new coach Eddie Jones' first squad for the 2016 Six Nations Championship.[44] He scored a try against Italy[45] and was the starting fly-half as England secured their first grand slam since 2003.[46] Later that year he was part of the side that won 3-0 on their summer tour of Australia[47] and in the 2016 Autumn Internationals scored a try against South Africa as England defeated the Springboks for the first time in a decade.[48]

Ford was also a member of the side that retained their title during the 2017 Six Nations Championship,[49] missing out on a consecutive grand slam with defeat in the final game away to Ireland which also brought an end to a record equalling eighteen successive Test victories.[49] Ford missed out on the 2017 Lions tour and instead was a member of the side that won 2-0 on their tour of Argentina, scoring a try in the first match.[50] On 18 October 2018, Ford played his 50th test for England against Japan.[51] Ford also captained the team that day,[51] which was his first test as captain.

Ford was included in the squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup[52] and scored tries in pool stage games against the United States[53] and Argentina.[54] He was dropped to the bench for the quarter-final against Australia[55] but returned to the starting lineup for the semi-final against New Zealand[56] and defeat in the final against South Africa as England finished runners up.[57]

After the World Cup he scored a try against Ireland in the 2020 Six Nations Championship[58] which England went on to win.[59] Later that year Ford started for England as they defeated France in extra-time to win the Autumn Nations Cup.[60]

International appearances[edit]

As of 6 December 2020[61]
Team Played Won Lost Drawn Win %
Italy 7 7 0 0 100
Argentina 5 5 0 0 100
Fiji 2 2 0 0 100
Samoa 2 2 0 0 100
Japan 1 1 0 0 100
Tonga 1 1 0 0 100
Uruguay 1 1 0 0 100
USA 1 1 0 0 100
Australia 9 8 1 0 89
Wales 11 9 2 0 82
Ireland 9 6 3 0 67
Scotland 6 4 1 1 67
France 8 5 3 0 63
South Africa 6 2 4 0 33
New Zealand 3 1 2 0 33
Total 72 55 16 1 76

International tries[edit]

As of 6 December 2020[61]
Try Opposing team Location Venue Competition Date Result Score
1  Scotland London, England Twickenham Stadium 2015 Six Nations 14 March 2015 Win 25 – 13[38]
2  France London, England Twickenham Stadium 2015 Six Nations 21 March 2015 Win 55 – 35[39]
3  Italy Rome, Italy Stadio Olimpico 2016 Six Nations 14 February 2016 Win 40 – 9[45]
4  South Africa London, England Twickenham Stadium 2016 Autumn Internationals 12 November 2016 Win 37 – 21[48]
5  Argentina San Juan, Argentina Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario 2017 Tour of Argentina 10 June 2017 Win 38 – 34[50]
6  Italy Rome, Italy Stadio Olimpico 2018 Six Nations 4 February 2018 Win 46 – 15[62]
7  Scotland London, England Twickenham Stadium 2019 Six Nations 16 March 2019 Draw 38 – 38[63]
8  United States Kobe, Japan Kobe Misaki Stadium 2019 World Cup 26 September 2019 Win 45 – 7[53]
9  Argentina Chōfu, Japan Tokyo Stadium 2019 World Cup 5 October 2019 Win 39 – 10[54]
10  Ireland London, England Twickenham Stadium 2020 Six Nations 23 February 2020 Win 24 – 12[58]

Personal life[edit]

He is the son of former England defence coach Mike Ford. His older brother Joe was also a professional rugby player.[9]

Honours[edit]

England

Club

Individual

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Player profile - George Ford". Rugby Football Union. Archived from the original on 9 May 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  2. ^ Tony Bugby (1 February 2014). "Your country calls: George Ford". Saddleworth Independent. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  3. ^ a b "The youngest player to make his professional debut". BBC Sport. 10 November 2009. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  4. ^ "Season 4 - Episode 14 with George Ford". The Magic Academy - Apple Podcasts. 1 April 2020. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  5. ^ "Leicester Tigers profile". Leicester Tigers. Retrieved 4 January 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ a b Martin Pengelly (26 June 2011). "New Zealand beat England in IRB Junior World Championship final". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ a b c d "The 10 Youngest Players To Make Their Premiership Debut". Ultimate Rugby. 18 July 2020. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  8. ^ "Leicester Tigers' teenage star George Ford gets thirst for action big stage". Leicestershire Live. Local World. 10 November 2009. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  9. ^ a b "Leeds' Ford targets starting spot". BBC Sport. 10 November 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
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  14. ^ "Croft: Door open for Tigers". Sky Sports. 25 January 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  15. ^ Paul Bolton (21 January 2012). "Leicester Tigers 33 Aironi 6: match report". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  16. ^ "Ford seal stunning win over Bath". Leicester Mercury. Local World. 10 March 2012. Archived from the original on 12 March 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  17. ^ "Leicester Tigers beat Northampton to lift LV Cup". Leicester Mercury. Local World. 18 March 2012. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  18. ^ a b Emlyn Begley (18 March 2012). "LV= Cup: Leicester Tigers 26-14 Northampton Saints". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  19. ^ "Murphy hails Ford focus". Scrum. ESPN Sports Media. 12 May 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  20. ^ "Quins clinch maiden Premiership title". Scrum. ESPN Sports Media. 26 May 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
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  22. ^ a b Chris Osborne (25 May 2013). "Aviva Premiership final: Leicester 37-17 Northampton". BBC Sport. Retrieved 9 February 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
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  30. ^ "England U18 lose in South Africa". Rugby Football Union. Archived from the original on 27 September 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2010.
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  32. ^ "George Ford, Six Nations Grand Slam". Rugby Football Union. Archived from the original on 27 September 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  33. ^ Iain Morrison (4 February 2012). "Scotland U20 3 - 59 England U20: Rampant England overwhelm Scots". The Scotsman. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
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  35. ^ "England and Saxons squads named". Rugby Football Union. 5 July 2012. Archived from the original on 4 June 2013.
  36. ^ Robert Kitson (9 March 2014). "England rise to dramatic win over Wales to leave Six Nations open". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  37. ^ Tom Fordyce (15 March 2014). "Six Nations 2014: England hammer Italy and wait on Ireland". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  38. ^ a b Tom Fordyce (14 March 2015). "Six Nations 2015: England beat Scotland and eye title". BBC Sport. Retrieved 14 November 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  39. ^ a b Tom Fordyce (21 March 2015). "Six Nations 2015: England 55-35 France". BBC Sport. Retrieved 14 November 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
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  41. ^ Tom Fordyce (18 September 2015). "Rugby World Cup 2015: England 35-11 Fiji". BBC Sport. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  42. ^ Chris Jones (23 September 2015). "Rugby World Cup 2015: England to drop George Ford for Wales". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  43. ^ Tom Fordyce (3 October 2015). "England out of Rugby World Cup as Australia win 33-13". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
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  46. ^ a b Tom Fordyce (19 March 2016). "Six Nations 2016: England win Grand Slam with France victory". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  47. ^ James Standley (25 June 2016). "England beat Australia 44-40 in final Test to complete series whitewash". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  48. ^ a b Tom Fordyce (12 November 2016). "Autumn international: England 37-21 South Africa". BBC Sport. Retrieved 14 November 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  49. ^ a b c Tom Fordyce (18 March 2017). "Six Nations 2017: Ireland 13-9 England". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  50. ^ a b James Standley (10 June 2017). "England beat Argentina thanks to Denny Solomona's late try". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  51. ^ a b Richard Cooke (15 November 2018). "George Ford 'never dreamed' of 50 caps ahead of captaining England vs Japan". Sky Sports. Retrieved 3 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  52. ^ Chris Jones (12 August 2019). "Rugby World Cup: England leave out Te'o, name Ludlam & McConnochie in squad". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  53. ^ a b Tom Fordyce (26 September 2019). "England thrash United States 45-7 in Rugby World Cup". BBC Sport. Retrieved 26 September 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  54. ^ a b Robert Kitson (5 October 2019). "England dismiss feisty Argentina after Tomás Lavanini sees red". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 October 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  55. ^ Tom Fordyce (17 October 2019). "Rugby World Cup: England v Australia - George Ford dropped for quarter-final". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  56. ^ Tom Fordyce (26 October 2019). "England 19-7 New Zealand: Eddie Jones' side beat All Blacks to reach World Cup final". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  57. ^ a b Tom Fordyce (2 November 2019). "England 12-32 South Africa: Springboks win World Cup for record-equalling third time". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  58. ^ a b Tom Fordyce (23 February 2020). "Six Nations 2020: England end Ireland's Grand Slam hopes and reignite title hopes". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  59. ^ a b "Six Nations 2020: England win title after France beat Ireland". BBC Sport. 31 October 2020. Retrieved 3 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  60. ^ a b Mike Henson (6 December 2020). "Autumn Nations Cup: England beat France in sudden death". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  61. ^ a b "ESPN profile". ESPN. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  62. ^ Tom Fordyce (4 February 2018). "Six Nations: Italy 15-46 England". BBC Sport. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  63. ^ Mike Henson (16 March 2019). "England and Scotland draw astonishing Test 38-38 in Six Nations". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 February 2021.

External links[edit]