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Wilkinson inspiration for U20 man Ford

14 December 2011

  • Retiring Wilkinson an inspiration for George Ford
  • His self sacrifice really stood out to me – Ford
George Ford in action with England

Photo: Getty Images

England Under 20 fly half, and current IRB Young Player of the Year, George Ford has paid his own tribute to Jonny Wilkinson, a man he says “inspired him.”

Ford, 18, was just 10-years-old when Wilkinson's right boot propelled England to Rugby World Cup glory, and the significance of that moment was not lost.

“For any young, aspiring fly half he’s been brilliant,” Ford said. “His determination and his drive sets his apart as a true great of the game – what he’s achieved in rugby deserves a massive amount of credit and I’ve got nothing but respect for him.

“He was a massive inspiration for me growing up – he was one of my idols and I was lucky enough to spend a couple of sessions with him and learnt so much.

“The amount of sacrifices he made, and the amount of time he spent perfecting his game, and in particular his kicking, really stood out to me.”

Ford is currently out in Portugal with the England U20 squad and says that the current group are bonding well: “We’ve had a tough few days so far,” he said. “It’s been fast, there’s been a lot of energy, there are a lot of new lads so we’re really looking forward to the new season.”

Ford added: “Last season was a good one for us, but we’ve still got some key players from that group, and that coupled with the strength of the new guys coming through should bode pretty well.”

England U20 kick off their Grand Slam defence against Scotland in Firhill on Friday February 10.


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