Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Ford braced for big stage

George Ford

Teenager George Ford could be thrown into the biggest game of his career on Saturday evening.

It is understood that the 19-year-old is on red alert to start as Leicester fly-half against Aviva Premiership play-off opponents Saracens at Welford Road. England international Toby Flood has been named in the Tigers team, but it is thought an ankle injury suffered during last weekend's victory over Bath could rule him out.

Ford, 19, is the son of former England defence coach Mike Ford, and he has impressed on his previous Leicester outings, notably this season's LV= Cup final when Tigers beat Northampton and he scored 16 points.

He is the current International Rugby Board junior player of the year - an achievement gained by no other English player - while he made his professional rugby union debut aged 16.

Leicester, meanwhile, will not struggle for motivation when they tackle reigning league champions Saracens.

While Tigers have enjoyed an imperious march into the title semi-finals for an eighth successive season, losing just one of their last 16 league games, one result still hurts.

Last September, with the World Cup under way in New Zealand and several Premiership clubs weakened as a result, Saracens achieved the unthinkable and scored 50 points on Leicester soil.

"I was in New Zealand at the time and was checking the results on the internet," Leicester skipper Geordan Murphy said. "I remember being surprised that Sarries had put that many points on us.

"They were pretty pleased with it, so we have to use that as motivation to go out and have a good game on Saturday. I am sure all of the boys will remember that.

"We were missing 12 guys at the World Cup, but it showed what sort of a side Saracens are. If we don't perform, we will be in trouble."

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