I WAS very excited about the signing of George Ford by Bath from the word go – and it seems as if he is being rightly rewarded with England recognition.
You don’t become an IRB Junior Player of the Year – as George did in 2011 – by accident. It’s an indication of your talent and potential.
Because of that, it was an inspired signing by Bath to bring him to the Rec and, for me, he is only going to get better.
While he may end up being a little short of the World Cup in 2015, he’s a player with that real ‘x factor’ and, crucially, someone who can control a game.
In that bracket, I put him ahead of someone like Freddie Burns, of Gloucester, but Owen Farrell, during his emergence for England, has shown about having the mental side to play international rugby and that will be the next challenge for Ford.
What I like about Bath is the type of players they seem to be targeting, namely English-qualified and young.
Let’s not jump the gun here, but they do seem to be building a good environment around that squad and you can see what they are trying to do.
Players like Anthony Watson, Kyle Eastmond and Jonathan Joseph are also pushing for England recognition and it’s exciting for the club.
Although there will be disappointment that Leicester came back to force a 27-27 draw last Sunday, it’s the sort of result that could really spark Bath’s season on to the next level.
I always felt they would be at the top of that ‘second tier’ of clubs after Saracens, Northampton, Leicester and Harlequins, but their mentality is growing and players will now be thinking ‘hey’ we belong here.
The results are starting to speak for themselves and, while the play-offs are where it matters and there’s no point in peaking too early, Bath can now look upon trips like Leicester and feel they can get something from those games.
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