Ford receives Farrell backing
George Ford (Getty Images)
London - George Ford will have no problems adjusting to the demands of Test rugby should he make his debut against Ireland in the Six Nations on Saturday, according to England assistant coach Andy Farrell.
Ford is in with a chance of providing cover for England first-choice fly-half Owen Farrell -- Andy's son.
The 20-year-old Ford has impressed at flyhalf for Bath where his father Mike -- like Andy Farrell a former rugby league player -- is the coach, having previously been England's defence guru.
"Definitely George would be ready to play against Ireland," Farrell said Tuesday ahead of Thursday's team announcement.
"He's comfortable in the environment. He knows all the plays and our systems and is comfortable with them.
"When you get that you can start being yourself and bring your game to the party."
At the other end of the experience spectrum to Ford is Brian O'Driscoll.
The Ireland great is in his final season of rugby before retirement and eyeing a second Grand Slam following the team's home wins over Scotland (28-6) and defending champions Wales (26-3) in the first two rounds.
Farrell knows the centre well, having coached him on the victorious British and Irish Lions tour of Australia last year and is in no doubt O'Driscoll remains a force even at 35 years of age.
"Brian is certainly a threat," former dual code international Farrell said.
"If you've seen some of the performances he's put in already this year, he's been spectacular," he added.
"Leinster's game against Northampton at Franklin's Gardens earlier this season shows what he can do for his side.
"He can turn a game on its head with the special skills and knowledge he has.
"What he brings -- even more so these days -- is a unity to the team and a real know-how of how to win big games because he's been there more times than anyone else."