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Ford praised for match-winning show

Bath coach Toby Booth paid tribute to George Ford as his match-winning display helped secure a 29-20 win at Sale in their Aviva Premiership opener.

The 21-year-old fly-half eclipsed opposite number Danny Cipriani with an impressive 19-point haul with the boot as well as creating tries for Anthony Watson and Semesa Rokoduguni.

Both Ford and Cipriani were keen to impress watching England coaches Stuart Lancaster and Andy Farrell ahead of next month's naming of the senior Elite Player Squad for the autumn international campaign.

Ford missed England's summer tour to New Zealand after being forced to undergo shoulder surgery but he looked back to something approaching his best at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Booth said: "George hadn't featured much in pre-season and I think as a team we showed a bit of rustiness.

"Not necessarily George, but as a team. We had a pre-season game booked with Edinburgh and that didn't materialise.

"When things happen so late, you have to adapt your plans and we basically had Bristol come in and train against us and we've had a training session with Wigan Warriors.

"We adapted our pre-season but there's no substitution for actual playing and we rose to the challenge today.

"George is working with (skills coach) Darren Edwards now with his kicking and has gone down the quality rather than quantity route.

"I've just had this conversation with George now and he felt he was maybe over-training with relation to his kicking.

"He has gone down the quality rather than quantity practice and he got his rewards today."

Ford's kick sent Watson over in the opening minute and then his fine break sent Rokoduguni bursting clear with eight minutes remaining.

Booth added: "George showed his usual game-management and then it's all about recognising and taking those little opportunities when they come."

Sale battled bravely but director of rugby Steve Diamond admitted Bath had too much quality for them.

Diamond was left to rue a forward pass which saw a try for Michael Paterson ruled out in the second half with the game firmly in the balance.

The Sharks crossed either side of half-time through Jennings and Mark Easter with Cirpiani kicking 10 points on his 100th Premiership appearance.

Diamond, who lost skipper Dan Braid and winger Mark Cueto to ankle injuries, said: "Our execution and discipline let us down.

"The forward pass would have put it away and that was a gamebreaker, but I think it was forward to be honest.

"I thought there was a few areas of the scrum which didn't go our way.

"Our execution wasn't good and Bath deserved to win today. They were a little bit better than us in the key areas.

"There was probably a bit of inexperience there in the last 10 minutes.

"George Ford spotted it, created the overlap and he's a top player. That was the difference really."

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