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George Ford (rugby union)

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

George Ford
George Ford 2014 Bath.jpg
Birth nameGeorge Thomas Ford
Date of birth (1993-03-16) 16 March 1993 (age 26)
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 44 (488)
2009– Total 178 (1,718)
Correct as of 19 May 2019
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 64 (300)
Correct as of 26 October 2019
Ford playing for Leicester Tigers (2012)

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

Early lifeEdit

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. He started playing rugby union aged 11 at Rishworth School and playing for Leeds Carnegie, before eventually joining Leicester at the age of 16 and subsequently signed professional forms with them.[2] He played for England Under 18s at just 15 years of age.

In December 2009, he was nominated for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year.[2] 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.[3]

Club careerEdit

Leicester TigersEdit

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 in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.[4] His debut was doubly notable as his brother Joe was also starting at fly-half for Leeds Carnegie that day.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7][8] In January 2012, he was loaned out to Leeds Carnegie for a short period,[9] but returned to make his Heineken Cup debut, scoring his first Leicester try in the defeat of Aironi.[10][11]

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 [12] and scoring 16 points in the final as Tigers triumphed over local rivals Northampton Saints.[13]

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.[14] 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.[15]

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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

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

BathEdit

On 23 January 2013 it was announced that Ford was to leave Tigers at the end of the season, to join Bath Rugby.[16] 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.[17]

Return to LeicesterEdit

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.[18]

England careerEdit

England U-18Edit

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,[19] 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[20] 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.[21]

England U-20Edit

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.[citation needed] 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.[22]

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.[3]

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.[23]

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.[24]

EnglandEdit

Ford made his England debut as a replacement against Wales in the 2014 Six Nations Championship.[citation needed] He made a 10-minute performance against Italy, and made a good break to set up a try for Chris Robshaw.[citation needed]

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 helped England to second place in the championship, contributing two tries and 75 points,[citation needed] and also hauling 25 points in England's thrilling 55–35 win over France.[citation needed]

Ford was named in Stuart Lancaster's 31-man squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. He was picked to start in the tournament opener against Fiji as England won 35-11,[25] however, one week later, Ford was dropped in favour of childhood friend Owen Farrell.[citation needed]

England were subsequently knocked out in the group stage, 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 shared between Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland and France.

Following the departure of Head Coach Stuart Lancaster, Ford was selected in new coach Eddie Jones' 31 man squad. He started every match as Fly-Half in the 2016 Six Nations Championship,[citation needed] helping England secure their first Grand Slam since 2003.

Ford was subsequently selected to embark on England's victorious 2016 summer tour of Australia, starting two of the test matches at fly-half.[citation needed]

Ford missed out on the 2017 Lions tour and went to Argentina with a severely depleted England team. He was instrumental in the 0-2 test series win.[citation needed]

On 18 October 2018, Ford played his 50th test for England against Japan.[citation needed] Ford also captained the team that day,[citation needed] which was his first test as captain.

International appearancesEdit

team played won lost drawn win %
Italy 5 5 0 0 100
Argentina 4 4 0 0 100
Samoa 2 2 0 0 100
Fiji 2 2 0 0 100
Uruguay 1 1 0 0 100
Australia 7 6 1 0 86
Wales 7 6 1 0 86
Scotland 4 3 1 0 75
France 5 3 2 0 60
South Africa 2 1 1 0 50
Ireland 5 2 3 0 40
New Zealand 2 1 1 0 50

International triesEdit

As of 26 September 2019 [26]
Try Opposing team Location Venue Competition Date Result Score
1   Scotland London, England Twickenham Stadium 2015 Six Nations 14 March 2015 Win 25 – 13[27]
2   France London, England Twickenham Stadium 2015 Six Nations 21 March 2015 Win 55 – 35[28]
3   Italy Rome, Italy Stadio Olimpico 2016 Six Nations 14 February 2016 Win 40 – 9[29]
4   South Africa London, England Twickenham Stadium 2016 Autumn Internationals 12 November 2016 Win 37 – 21[30]
5   Argentina San Juan, Argentina Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario 2017 Tour of Argentina 10 June 2017 Win 38 – 34
6   Italy Rome, Italy Stadio Olimpico 2018 Six Nations 4 February 2018 Win 46 – 15[31]
7   Scotland London, England Twickenham Stadium 2019 Six Nations 16 March 2019 Draw 38 – 38
8   United States Kobe, Japan Kobe Misaki Stadium 2019 World Cup 26 September 2019 Win 45 – 7[32]
9   Argentina Chōfu, Japan Tokyo Stadium 2019 World Cup 5 October 2019 Win 39 – 10[33]

Personal lifeEdit

Ford's brother Joe plays for Leicester Tigers.[citation needed] He is engaged to Jess Portman.[citation needed]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Player profile - George Ford". RFU. Retrieved 8 April 2013.[dead link]
  2. ^ a b "The youngest player to make his professional debut". SPOTY 2009. BBC Sport. 10 November 2009. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  3. ^ a b Foy, Chris (20 October 2011). "Ford award is good news at last for English rugby". Mail Online. DMG Media. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  4. ^ "Leicester Tigers' teenage star George Ford gets thirst for action big stage". Leicestershire Live. Local World. 10 November 2009. Retrieved 3 August 2010.[dead link]
  5. ^ "Leeds' Ford targets starting spot". BBC Sport. 10 November 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  6. ^ "List of youngest players in Premiership Rugby". Scrum. ESPN Sports Media. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  7. ^ "Youngest Premiership Rugby starts by position". Scrum. ESPN Sports Media. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  8. ^ "Premiership: Leicester 28-30 Exeter". BBC Sport. 3 September 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  9. ^ "Ford joins Leeds on loan". Scrum. ESPN Sports Media. 29 December 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  10. ^ "Croft: Door open for Tigers". Sky Sports. 25 January 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  11. ^ "Leicester Tigers 33 Aironi 6: match report". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. 21 January 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  12. ^ "Ford seal stunning win over Bath". Leicester Mercury. Local World. 10 March 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2012.[dead link]
  13. ^ "Leicester Tigers beat Northampton to lift LV Cup". Leicester Mercury. Local World. 18 March 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2012.[dead link]
  14. ^ "Murphy hails Ford focus". Scrum. ESPN Sports Media. 12 May 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  15. ^ "Quins clinch maiden Premiership title". Scrum. ESPN Sports Media. 26 May 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  16. ^ "George Ford will leave Leicester Tigers for Bath, Cockers confirms". Leicester Mercury. Local World.[dead link]
  17. ^ "George Ford: Sale Sharks boss Steve Diamond interested in England fly-half". BBC Sport. 20 December 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  18. ^ "George Ford: Leicester Tigers re-sign England fly-half, Freddie Burns joins Bath". BBC Sport. 14 February 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  19. ^ "England U18 squad to Argentina named". London Wasps RFC. Retrieved 10 May 2008.[dead link]
  20. ^ "England U18 squad to South Africa named". RFU. Retrieved 28 June 2010.[dead link]
  21. ^ "England U18 lose in South Africa". RFU. Retrieved 23 July 2010.[dead link]
  22. ^ "George Ford, Six Nations Grand Slam". RFU. Retrieved 21 March 2011.[dead link]
  23. ^ "England squad named for JWC 2012". World Rugby.[dead link]
  24. ^ "England and Saxons squads named". RFU. 5 July 2012. Archived from the original on 4 June 2013.
  25. ^ Tom Fordyce. "Rugby World Cup 2015: England 35-11 Fiji". BBC Sport. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  26. ^ "George Ford". Scrum. ESPN Sports Media. 7 July 2019.
  27. ^ Tom Fordyce (14 March 2015). "Six Nations 2015: England beat Scotland and eye title". BBC Sport. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  28. ^ Tom Fordyce (21 March 2015). "Six Nations 2015: England 55-35 France". BBC Sport.
  29. ^ Tom Fordyce (14 February 2016). "Six Nations 2016: Italy 9-40 England". BBC Sport.
  30. ^ Tom Fordyce (12 November 2016). "Autumn international: England 37-21 South Africa". BBC Sport.
  31. ^ Tom Fordyce (4 February 2018). "Six Nations: Italy 15-46 England". BBC Sport. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  32. ^ Tom Fordyce (26 September 2019). "England thrash United States 45-7 in Rugby World Cup". BBC Sport. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  33. ^ Robert Kitson (5 October 2019). "England dismiss feisty Argentina after Tomás Lavanini sees red". The Observer. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 6 October 2019 – via The Guardian.

External linksEdit