George Ford has been named Premiership Rugby Player of the Month for November and surely the blip will be getting closer to the centre of a certain Mr Lancaster’s radar screen?
Alongside half back partner Peter Stringer, Ford has been instrumental in Bath’s rise into the Premiership’s top four, racking up the most League points (111) in the process.
Under the watchful eye of dad Mike, who took on the Head Coach role in the summer of 2012 after roles with England and the Lions, Ford has played a part in all nine of Bath’s Premiership matches and kicked all of the points in their most recent league victory – a 21-16 triumph over the Exeter Chiefs at the Rec.
Reality TV star Former England star Austin Healey for one has been singing his praises saying: “Over the past few months George Ford has ticked all the boxes required to become the England No 10. He has developed his game in terms of stability, goal kicking and territorial control, whilst maintaining a unique ability to take the ball to the line.”
Ford has credited his own performances to the platform set by the Back pack saying, “This is an award for the forwards … they must take the credit. In a number of performances this season, they have been the reason we have been able to get the wins and it makes life a lot easier for me when they’re playing so well.”
Having previously played second fiddle to Toby Flood at Leicester for xx years, Ford’s emergence as one of the stand-out no.10s in the league may see him jump ahead in the rankings, providing a potential solution to take England forward to 2015 and beyond. OK, ‘solution’ may not be the right word, given the clockwork precision of Owen Farrell’s boot, but Ford has more creative flair and his all-round game is developing and even at Leicester it was clear he could handle big game pressure, when he guided them through the Premiership Final in May.
It’s a nice selection headache to have but a string of injuries and poor form of players elsewhere in the backs will be giving Lancaster a full-blown migraine.
Chiefs winger Jack Nowell was in the England team that won the Under-20s World Cup in France and has now established himself as a first-team regular at Sandy Park. The 20-year-old has already caught the eye of the England coaches, who have named the in the England Saxons squad, and with Christian Wade and Marland Yarde out for the foreseeable future, with [injuries] respectively (coupled with Chris Ashton being pretty woeful throughout the QBEs), Nowell could provide an answer to Lancaster’s selection problems.
Another Bath flyer who was included in Stuart Lancaster’s training squad during the QBEs was Anthony Watson. Having scored a try in the 33-21 win over New Zealand in this year’s Junior World Championship semi-final and also featuring in the win over Wales in the final, Lancaster wanted to give Watson ‘a taste of the environment’. Watson was released back to his club and has since been in impressive form. He has impressive footwork and an electric turn of pace.
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