George Ford's Australian connection

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

It’s been 21 years since Mike Ford donned a South Queensland Crushers jersey but his son, England’s George, reckons little has changed in the Australian sporting psyche.

George was just one when his father played for the Crushers in the then-Australian Rugby League, but he has managed to glean a sliver of information off him.

“They’re a very competitive nation, always difficult to play against,” he said.

“He enjoyed his time down here. He just said to prepare for a fierce set of games against them on their own backyard and that’s the way this series has been.”

Ford, the man who looms as England’s starting flyhalf for Saturday’s second Test is adamant England can prove they’ve got the attacking weapons to outscore Australia.

Mike Ford (left) was recently sacked as coach of George's club, Bath. Photo: Getty ImagesAustralia outscored England four tries to three in the opening Test, a margin that was four-two until the 79th minute, but Ford said England’s goal was simply to adapt to game situations.

“We want to be a team that can threaten all over the field,” he said.

“In international Test matches when opportunities arise you’ve got to take them.

“At some point you’re going to have to score two, three, four  tries in a game. So we’ll definitely look to execute as a team as a backline when those chances come along.

While he spruiked the attacking abilities of his side, Ford said their traditional set piece focus wouldn’t go away.

“We just need to make sure we do the right thing at the right time in that particular game and that might be playing a little bit tight, it might be kick the ball a bit more, it might be try and make the game a little bit more chaotic and play a bit more unstructured rugby but until the actual moment in the game we don’t know what we need to do.”

George Ford and Owen Farrell have made a strong combination. Photo: Getty ImagesOn the opposite side, Ford admitted England needed to shore up a leaky defence, that let in two Wallabies tries in the space of 10 minutes in Brisbane.

Ford replaced inside centre Luther Burrell half an hour into the Brisbane Test and has been tipped to run on at 10 this weekend, pairing up with Owen Farrell once again.

While the pair have played few Test matches together, they combined at under-age level and Ford said they were beginning to grow together.

“It’s just great to have someone else who else out there that has the energy and communication and sees the game like that as well as being calm and cool,” he said.

“As a backline we’re getting better and better in terms of helping each other out, in terms of our communication we’ll keep striving and pushing each other to make sure we get to the next level.”