Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Ford did homework for Farrell

George Ford has revealed he used to do Owen Farrell's French homework when the school friends were growing up in Harpenden so that they could spend more time honing their rugby skills.

Ford and Farrell will start an England match together for the first time after being selected at fly-half and inside centre for Saturday's QBE International against Samoa at Twickenham.

As teenagers they attended St George's School and operated in tandem at age-group level for England, including at the 2011 Junior World Championship when they reached the final.

"We went to the same school and lived 10 minutes away from each other. All we wanted to do was go outside and kick a ball around," Ford said.

"Owen used to come home and say 'come on mate, we need to go outside and have a mess around, do a bit of my homework for me'.

"And I'd say 'OK', so I'd start doing a bit of his French or whatever it was. It was all so that we cold go out and kick a ball around. It was stupid of me when you look back on it."

England have pinpointed the Samoa showdown as the chance to give Ford his first start after four appearances as a replacement, shoulder surgery having robbed him of the honour for the first Test of the summer tour to New Zealand when Farrell was unavailable

It is a key moment for Ford, who has been told to boss his older-team-mate knowing he may be retained at 10 for the climax to the autumn against Australia if he impresses.

"Being vocal and leading the backline just happens. You are in that position day in day out for your club so much that it just comes naturally. It is no different with England," Ford said.

"You have got to be like that otherwise you will probably get more flak off the lads if you are not organising them.

"We want to have two or three people in the backline who can organise, that can distribute and that can kick the ball. When Owen and I have played together in the past that's what's happened.

"It's brilliant for me as a 10 to have Owen there because he understands what a 10 needs and on the flip side if Owen's at first receiver and I'm at second I can hopefully give him some information too on what we need to do at a specific time.

"It doesn't matter what number we have on our backs on Saturday. Having two 10s on the field who can organise, distribute, manage the game and constantly talk to each other is going to be a massive help for us."


From Belfast Telegraph