| 15.5°C Belfast

Ford shows Tiger calm


George Ford helped himself to 17 points against his former team

George Ford helped himself to 17 points against his former team

George Ford helped himself to 17 points against his former team

George Ford insisted "it was not about me" after he booted Bath to victory against his former club and Aviva Premiership champions Leicester at the Recreation Ground.

Fly-half Ford, who left Tigers for Bath earlier this summer, kicked 17 points as Bath made it two wins from two with a 27-20 success.

But he was quick to sidestep individual praise after delivering an assured display.

"It wasn't about me playing against Leicester, it was about Bath against Leicester," he said.

"I just wanted to come and play, and thankfully I've had four or five games in a row now, including pre-season. I will try to keep my head down, keep working hard in training and see where it takes us.

"It was a tough game. We lost a bit of intensity in the second half and Leicester came back at us.

"We knew Leicester would come back, and we probably didn't grasp hold of the game well enough at the start of the second half.

"One of their biggest strengths is how fit they are, and they were still hammering away in the 78th and 79th minutes."

Ford, a former world junior player of the year, kicked five penalties and converted centre Jonathan Joseph's first-half interception try.

Matt Banahan also scored before the break, giving Bath a commanding 18-point interval advantage after Tigers were briefly reduced to 13 men when front-row forwards Tom Youngs and Logovi'i Mulipola received yellow cards.

Leicester, though, displayed admirable character and they fought back brilliantly through second-half tries by Steve Mafi, Ed Slater and Vereniki Goneva.

It ensured a pulsating climax in the 100th-year anniversary fixture between two of English rugby's fiercest rivals, but Bath did enough to make it two wins from two after they triumphed at Newcastle last week.

"I am pleased for George. There was a lot of pressure on him today, so I am pleased he has come through it and we have got the win," Ford's father Mike, the Bath first team coach, said.

Rugby Round Up Newsletter

Exclusives and expert analysis from the sports team straight to your inbox

This field is required

"Listen, it's not about George, it is about the team. As a coach, to have plenty of things to work on and still win against Leicester, there are obviously quite a few positives there.

"To beat any Leicester side, a club that has been in nine successive Premiership finals, you never knock that.

"Having said that, the performance could have been a lot better. We were sat there at half-time wondering how many opportunities we had missed in their half to put more pressure on them.

"But in the second half, credit to Leicester, they squeezed us, put pressure on us, they slowed the game down. We made a few errors, and they got back into the game.

"I just want the fans to understand that we are very happy where we are in terms of results, but we know we can get better.

"There are going to be highs and lows, but as long as we all stick together, whether it takes us six months, 12 months or 18 months we are going to be a very good side."

The game was held up for almost 10 minutes late on after Bath's replacement hooker Ross Batty needed extensive treatment before being carried off.

"I think Ross is all right," Ford added. "He was wide awake when they were putting him on the stretcher. Whether it's his neck or concussion, I am not too sure."

Leicester coach Paul Burke admitted the Tigers had it all to do from 21-3 adrift, but their second-half fightback at least ensured they left the west country with a losing bonus point.

"We gave ourselves a mountain to climb at 21-3 down, but we addressed a few things and I am really proud of the second-half performance," Burke said.

"We created a lot of opportunities, got to the outside channels and exposed Bath. We came here to play and to score tries, and we scored three against their two.

"When it got to 24-20, we had the momentum in the game. Bath were kicking away a lot of ball, and I thought we rattled them."

Top Videos