Planet Rugby



Ford impressing Stringer

15th October 2013 15:47


Peter Stringer Bath 2013

Impressed: Peter Stringer

Veteran Bath and former Ireland scrum-half Peter Stringer has this week paid tribute to his youthful half-back partner George Ford.

The 20-year-old moved to the Recreation Ground from Leicester Tigers before the start of the Premiership season, and has enjoyed some fine early-season form, winning the man-of-the-match award for Bath's Amlin Challenge Cup victory over Bordeaux-Begles on Saturday.

Stringer feels there are parallels to be drawn between the young Englishman and the fly-half he partnered so successfully in the red of Munster and green of Ireland for so long, Ronan O'Gara.

"I think so," the scrum-half told the ERC website, when asked if Ford and O'Gara were borne of the same style.

"If a defensive team are showing an open backfield and you need to kick the ball all day to find space, that's what you do. He's doesn't get bored of doing the right things at the right time. That's a mark of a great player.

"For me personally, to get a guy who is running on to the ball and taking it really flat is what I'm used to. As a nine, all I want is to get quick ball, get it out there and get him running on to it. It makes my job a hell of a lot easier when I know where's going to be and I can just put the ball there expecting him to be there every time.

"For a guy who's so young, he seems to have a really experienced head on his shoulders. It's great to have a dominant out-half outside you, who's very vocal and knows what he's doing. He's a guy who can control the game very well and you can see how well he reads the game."

Though the 35-year-old played no part in Bath's opening-round victory over the French outfit, he could be back in the squad for the visit of the Dragons.

Having dined at the top European table for so many years with Munster, the veteran is currently navigating through uncharted waters in the Amlin Challenge Cup.

Stringer, who won 98 caps for Ireland, does harbour hopes of a return to Heineken Cup action next season, but concedes he is eager help Bath top their pool, and reach the knockout stages.

"Whether it be Heineken or Amlin, I know the importance from a player's point of view and a club's point of view to be seen on the European stage," he added.

"That's what it's all about. It's where you rate yourself and it's how you improve. That's where we want to get to - we want to be playing these Heineken Cup teams on a regular basis.

"When you look at an Amlin knockout stage, it could be the Heineken knockout stage with the quality of teams that are in it. It's an unbelievable competition and it's in our minds going forward."

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