George Ford heaps praise on Tigers boss Steve Borthwick

Planet Rugby

Leicester Tigers fly-half George Ford has lavished praise on head coach Steve Borthwick following the club’s outstanding start to the Premiership season.

Their latest 28-26 victory against Bristol Bears saw Tigers make it 10 victories out of 10 in the league, which matched Harlequins’ impressive feat in 2011.

And with Leicester having finished the 2019/20 campaign in 11th place, it represents a remarkable turnaround led by Borthwick who came in 18 months ago.

One game at a time

“I have obviously been coached by him at England and at Leicester, and he is one of, if not the best, coaches around,” Leicester fly-half Ford explained.

“I think we had built good foundations in our game, and I think we have taken our game to a new level in terms of those foundations, but also a little bit of the way we attack – a bit of variety in our game – and we are a bit better disciplined.

“But I think the main thing is we have taken the way we prepare in training to a new level.

“The way Steve gives us a plan, and then the way we go about it and practise it in the week. When you go out on game-day, you feel so ready to go and play and win.

“For a player that’s all you can ever ask for. I have never not had enough clarity, going into a game, and that’s down to Steve and the coaches.

“I know it’s a cliche, but we take each game as it comes. Steve won’t let us do anything other than that!

“We are that engrossed in trying to be better and trying to win this game, and then Newcastle next weekend. We are just enjoying it. Obviously, winning helps that.”

Ford is in his final season at Leicester before joining their Premiership rivals Sale Sharks next summer.

And his outstanding form has proved instrumental to Borthwick’s team seeing off all-comers so far this term.

“I will do everything I possibly can to finish on a high,” Ford added.

“I love the club, the coaches here are brilliant and they support me. I want to do my job as well as I can for the rest of the time I am here.”

Substitute Guy Porter’s 84th-minute try saw Leicester edge out Bristol and Ford said: “You can never question the fight, this year especially.

“No matter what is going on in the game – the scoreboard, whether something good has happened or something bad has happened – we focus on that next thing, which is a great way to be as a team.

“One minute we are down in our half with a minute left, and most people think the game is done and dusted, but the ability for us to stay in the game in the moment, get that one opportunity and execute it was brilliant.

“Wins like that, you remember them and you have to bank them.

“Sometimes, that’s the way you win a game – sometimes, you win a bit more comfortably – but when situations like that happen at the end, you have got to bank it because when you are in those situations again, you need to come back to those moments.”

Tabai Matson sings fly-half’s praises

After Marcus Smith’s late Covid withdrawal, the concern for Harlequins was surely that their attacking game would lack a little zip.

Enter Will Edwards, who delivered an exceptional display to help his side to a 41-27 win over Northampton at Twickenham on Monday.

Coach Tabai Matson was quick to praise the fly-half’s performance under difficult circumstances.