Ford excited to line up with Farrell

Date published: February 6 2016

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England fly-half George Ford is excited by the prospect of playing alongside Owen Farrell in Saturday's clash with Scotland at Murrayfield.

Farrell, who traditionally plays at 10, has been named at 12 for England's Six Nations opener but Ford believes the pair can complement each other.

“I’m really excited about it,” Ford told the RFU's official website.

“We are two guys who think about the game pretty similar. We are both used to playing 10 so we can help each other out in terms of managing the game, seeing where the space is and trying to get in that space.

“The understanding is there, we’ve played together through age-group rugby many, many times so like I said, I’m really excited by it.”

Ford has also hailed the influence of World Cup winning fly-half Jonny Wilkinson who is working as a consultant for England.

The Bath fly-half has had three sessions with Wilkinson, who won the World Cup with England in 2003, and is already feeling the benefit of his experience.

“It’s been great,” added Ford.

“It’s not just been kicking sessions to be honest, it’s a been a bit of overall fly-half work, passing, distributing and skills stuff. We’ve had short and sharp sessions with loads of energy and Jonny is joining in with us at times.

“We are doing kicking on top as well and to have someone like him come in and add a bit of something different for us as 10’s is brilliant. We’ve learned a lot off him and he’s a great guy to have around.”

Ford revealed he returned to the training pitch late from a team meeting to find Wilkinson practicing his own kicking and also gave an insight into the conversations he has been having with the former Toulon star.

“He spoke to me and Owen about how we could have a massive influence on the game with our composure and the way we go about ourselves as 10 and 12 at the weekend,” explained Ford.

“He has played in many of these games, so to chat to him was good for both myself and Owen. His work ethic was unbelievable, probably the best there has ever been…it does rub off on you."

Saturday’s game will be the first under head coach Eddie Jones and Ford said the match heralded a new era for English rugby.

“It’s a new beginning for us and we are massively excited by the game,” he said.

“Any first game in a tournament like the RBS 6 Nations is huge and you want to get off to a good start, especially away from home. It’s Murrayfield and Scotland are going to be massively up for it, as are we.

“We’ve prepared really well, are confident and want to go out there and put in a really good performance."

Ford will come up against Finn Russell at Murrayfield and he says he is aware keeping his opposite number, as well as scrum-half Grieg Laidlaw, quiet will be a key factor in sealing victory on Saturday.

“He’s a very good player,” said Ford.

“He is very accomplished, has a great kicking game, a good running game and he ignites their backline. So we are going to have to look after him at 10 and Laidlaw at 9 when they have the ball.”

Ford added how impressed he was with Scotland at the World Cup and is expecting a huge challenge at the weekend.

“They have brought their game on a lot, especially since Vern Cotter has been there," he said.

“They will be a really tough team to play against. They will be physical and try and make a mess of the breakdown so we will have to try and control things that we can control to take that out of the equation.

"It’s going to be a hell of a challenge but one we are looking forward to.”

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