RUGBY: Ford targets regular starts

Wiltshire Times: George Ford George Ford

RUMOURED Bath target George Ford is aiming to follow the same path as Billy Twelvetrees, one out of Welford Road and into the England team.

Twelvetrees is poised to make his England debut against Scotland on Saturday, having left Leicester last summer in search of regular first-team rugby with Gloucester.

Tigers fly-half Ford is currently Toby Flood's fly-half understudy at Leicester and he has decided to take a similar route, convinced the only way he can develop is by playing every week.

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill believes the 19-year-old - junior world player of the year in 2011 - is bound for Bath next season, where his father Mike Ford is assistant coach.

In his first interview since his departure was confirmed, Ford has explained how he agonised over the decision but was ultimately driven by a desire to play and improve.

"It is difficult when you are on the bench and you are coming on for 10 or 20 minutes each game. Playing a full 80 minutes is what I need to be doing really," Ford told Press Association Sport.

"Like any young player, you need to be playing and the more you play the better you get. For any young player who is willing to learn and progress in their career they need to be playing as much as they can.

"It was one of the toughest decisions I have had to make and I didn't take it lightly.

"Young players need to be playing to learn and develop. It (my situation) is no different to any young player."

Ford shone in the England Saxons' victory over the Irish Wolfhounds last week and he is in line to start against Scotland A in Newcastle on Friday night.

Leicester were upset to lose Ford, who joined the club from the Leeds academy in 2009, with Cockerill claiming he has been badly advised.

But Ford has pledged his commitment to Leicester until the end of the season and he has vowed to keeping pushing Flood for the starting fly-half jersey.

"I spent a lot of time mulling it over and thinking about it," Ford said.

"It is over now and I will be 100 per cent committed to the club and I will be doing everything I can to make sure the Tigers win something this season.

"The rest of the season I will hopefully be playing in a few games and challenging for the 10 shirt and hopefully it will be a successful season and we can win things."

MORE BATH RUGBY NEWS IN FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES

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