GEORGE Ford’s Test debut coincided with England ending a drought of five matches without a win – but he knows it’s back to waiting and worrying to see if he’ll finish the autumn the same way.
After two appearances off the bench against New Zealand and South Africa, former Rishworth School pupil Ford was handed his first England start by head coach Stuart Lancaster for the visit of Samoa to Twickenham.
With Ford at fly-half England duly did enough to end their baron spell and the 21-year-old certainly impressed at Rugby HQ, delivering a sublime cross-field kick that helped set up Mike Brown’s try.
Whether the Bath’s fly-half’s part in the 28-9 victory will be enough remains to be seen but Lancaster had indicated Ford is likely to keep his place against Australia this weekend.
Ford replaced Owen Farrell for Samoa, Lancaster adamant there is no nepotism despite Andy Farrell among his coaching staff, but regardless he insists there is plenty to work on to become first choice.
“There were some aspects of my game that I was quite pleased with and some that I can still work on,” said Ford, who had made four total appearances off the bench prior to his start against Samoa.
“I always look at it from a team performance and it was brilliant to get a win out there and put the five losses behind us and get some momentum (for Australia).
“The communication for two of the tries was brilliant and it’s brilliant for a team to have that so you can just concentrate on your own job.
“You always want to play but it’s up to the coaches and they will come up with a plan and a team that they think is best to beat Australia.
“Whether, I’m involved in that or not I’ll back it 100 per cent. It’s going to be a massive squad effort [for Australia].”
Ford’s Test debut wasn’t without incident – as well as his sublime kick to Anthony Watson for Brown’s 45th-minute try, he was on the receiving end of a massive hit from centre Johnny Leota.
Leota was sent to the bin for tackling too high but Ford has brushed off the hit and is ready for whatever international throws at him as he bids to make the England No.10 jersey his own.
“I was a bit jumbled up but I just wanted to get back up on my feet as quickly as I could. It was a good hit, I don’t really think it was a yellow card,” he added.
“Against a team like Samoa its always going to be a bit different. It was probably a bit more physical than what we’ve been used to at Premiership level but we expected that coming in to the game.
“I wouldn’t say it was enjoyable to take those hits but you just have to get on with it. The game was a step up; I think Test matches are always steps up.
“The intensity of it, the speed of it, the time the ball is in play is generally up. Obviously the more you play the more you’ll get used to it and we handled that pretty well.”
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