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RUGBY: Bath coach Gold cools talk of Ford move
BATH head coach Gary Gold today distanced his club from reports linking Leicester’s teenage fly-half George Ford with a move to the Recreation Ground.
Reports in Leicester claimed Ford, 19, was on the verge of a summer switch to the west country to join his father Mike, who is Bath’s defence coach, after lengthy contract negotiations with the Tigers broke down.
England U20 star Ford was reportedly offered a two-year deal to stay with the Tigers, with one of the stumbling blocks being the amount of playing time on offer with Toby Flood the current encumbent in the Leicester No 10 shirt.
The Leicester Mercury also reported that Bath would have to pay Leicester up to £45,000 in compensation for the services of the player.
But in his midweek press conference, Rec chief Gold played down speculation linking his club with Ford, one of English rugby’s hottest prospects.
Denying any deal to sign the youngster was already in place, Gold said: “George is a good player obviously and I’m not going to bury my head in the sand and say he isn’t.
“The simple situation is that we’re not allowed to be talking to players like George because he’s covered by a movement management protocol and he hasn’t signed at the club.
"At this stage, we’re not allowed to have a conversation with him so there is nothing more to say other than that.
“It’s important to point out we’ve got Tom Heathcote and Stephen Donald under contract here.
“It’s an easy club to label (Ford) to (but) my understanding is that there was no official statement from Leicester on that. It was just speculation.
“I just need to make it very clear we’re not allowed to speak to the England U20 players and nobody is for that matter.
“By the terms set out by the stipulation of the Professional Game Board and the PRL, we’re not allowed to be speaking to those players so to that end he hasn’t signed and that’s all there is.’’
MORE ON THIS STORY, PLUS MORE NEWS FROM BATH RUGBY IN FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES
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