Ford wants England to match Pumas' passion

2017-05-27 07:27
George Ford (AFP)

Brighton - England flyhalf George Ford has warned the Six Nations champions to prepare for a "hostile" atmosphere when they travel to Argentina for a two-Test series next month.

Ford, along with several other players in the England squad, may have been overlooked for the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand but he insisted there was no time for regrets ahead of a testing trip to South America.

With several first-choice players on Lions duty, England coach Eddie Jones has selected a mixture of experience hands and raw novices, with little in between, for the Argentina series.

Facing the Pumas will be a new experience for some members of a revamped England squad but not Ford.

"The one thing, playing with Argentinian players as well, and against them, they're so passionate about the game that that's the type of game you're going to come up against," Ford told AFP at England's south coast training camp in Brighton.

"The fans are just (as) passionate and emotional as the players are, it'll be hostile.

"On the pitch they'll be physical, they get into you and they pride themselves on being physical, so it's something we've got to be excited about and take that challenge front on.

"If you want to win any Test match these days you've probably got to win the physicality battle and the Argentinians are probably up there with the world's best at that," he added.

Ford, who is returning to Leicester from English Premiership rivals Bath in time for the start of the 2017/18 season, cited Pumas wing Horacio Agulla, now with French club Castres, as a case in point.

"I used to play with Horacio Agulla, at Leicester and Bath.

"He never looked like a massive winger by any stretch of the imagination, but he punched way above his weight, he used to fly into tackles, he used to fly into carries and I thought that summed Argentina up really, just go at everything 100 percent, be emotional and show that with their physicality.

"They're obviously very nice guys off the pitch but they flick a switch on it."

Since the tour was scheduled, the series has been given added spice by the fact that England and Argentina have been drawn in the same pool, along with France, for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

The last World Cup, in England two years ago, saw Argentina make it all the way to the semi-finals.

England, by contrast suffered an embarrassing first-round exit that led to the sacking of Stuart Lancaster and his replacement by Australian coach Jones.

"I think it will give us a greater understanding of how to play against Argentina," said the 24-year-old Ford.

"Obviously we had a meeting earlier and we spoke about the World Cup group and you've basically got to beat some really good teams whoever you play. France, Argentina, when you get to the quarters, it'll be a tough game.

"It will be a really good test for us."

Before they leave for Argentina, England play the Barbarians in a non-cap international at Twickenham on Sunday.

As well as their Lions, England will be without players from Exeter and Wasps, who contest the Premiership final at Twickenham on Saturday.

The fact that Northampton played on Friday, edging out Stade Francais in a tight final qualifier for next season's European Champions Cup, means regular captain Dylan Hartley will be missing as well.

Ford and former England skipper Chris Robshaw have been named as co-captains for the Barbarians match.

Now a veteran of 35 Tests, Ford was keen to embrace leadership duties.

"I'm looking to try develop that all the time really," he explained. "As a 10, you're more an on-field leader but I suppose especially last week and this week with Dylan not being here for example, there's some more off-field stuff that I've tried to develop."

Read more on:    argentina  |  england  |  rugby


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