Ford rules out joining dad at Toulon

2016-11-09 08:52
George Ford (Getty)

London - England flyhalf George Ford says there is no chance of him joining father Mike at French big-spenders Toulon.

Mike Ford was appointed head coach of the Top 14 side in place of former Italy international Diego Dominguez in October, after initially joining Toulon as backs coach.

He moved to France after being sacked as coach of English Premiership side Bath - the club George still plays for - following a poor league season that saw the west country team finish ninth in the 12-strong table.

His appointment as head coach of Toulon sparked speculation that father and son could be re-united in France.

But that would mean George having to effectively give up his international career because England do not select overseas-based players for Test duty, except in "exceptional circumstances".

It is a policy that pre-dates Eddie Jones's reign as England coach but one the Australian is determined to uphold. 

"I don’t know what was going on there last week to be honest," Ford, speaking at England's training base on Tuesday, said of the speculation.

"It was news to me, anyway," added the 23-year-old ahead of England's opening end-of-year international against South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday.

"Obviously my dad’s there but I want to play for England so I want to play in England," insisted Ford, who has appeared in 26 Tests.

"After it all came out I had a quick chat with Eddie and said, 'I don’t know where all that’s come from'."

Ford did not rule out playing overseas at a much later stage in his career, saying: "I think it would be a great life experience playing somewhere like France. 

"It is a different way of playing and living - you'd probably see the sun and the beach a lot more... I'll see where I am in a few years’ time."

But right now Ford's focus in on helping England make it 10 wins out of 10 under Jones when they face the Springboks -- a team they have not beaten since 2006.

This weekend's clash is set to see Ford and childhood friend Owen Farrell continue their twin playmaker partnership at fly-half and inside centre respectively. 

A niggling injury that meant Farrell could not kick sidelined him for six weeks at the start of the season.

But his return saw the goal-kicker produce a man-of-the-match display as reigning English and European champions Saracens beat Toulon 33-21 on October 15.

"I wasn't surprised by Owen's form," said Ford. "He would have been on top of things constantly even if he was not training to his full capacity. He is obsessed with the game."

Farrell is one of three England players on a six-strong shortlist for World Rugby's player of the year award, together with Billy Vunipola and Maro Itoje - also two of his team-mates at London club Saracens.

The winner will be announced on Sunday and Ford said: "There have been some outstanding performers in the team and those three especially.

"Other players could have made it as well."

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