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Ford in focus: Great to get the win

06 February 2012

  • England Under 20 catain Ford reflects on Scotland win
  • For our first game together I was very pleased – Ford
England U20 captain George Ford in action

Photo: Getty Images

The Saxons may not have enjoyed Friday night very much, but we were very happy to get our campaign off to the best possible start at Firhill.

It’s always intimidating going away to face the Scottish but I was proud of the way our pack stood up and got us on the front foot early on - especially considering how many of the guys were new to the team.

Our pack provided us with good, clean ball and when you have the likes of Marland Yarde and Chris Walker on the wings, you know you will be able to cause some damage. And that’s what Marland did - a hat-trick in the opening 20minutes is some start to the tournament and allowed us to play with confidence for the last hour.

And then the luxury of bringing another speedster Anthony Watson makes the loss of last year’s wing king Christian Wade easier to bear.

We said in the build-up that we wanted a good team performance and that’s what we delivered.

Although one or two of the scores were down to the sheer speed of our electric wide men, most of them were team efforts which was particularly pleasing as we only had a week of preparation leading up to the game.

It was important not to get complacent after such a terrific start and we said at half time that it is crucial that our defence holds firm.

Marland Yade in action for England Under 20

Photo: Getty Images

It is crucial that we build our success on the foundation of solid defence and it was a team goal to shut them out.

They came close a few times and it was only dogged, body on the line, defence which kept out try line intact.

Unfortunately the Italy v France game was postponed on Friday night due to the weather so we didn’t get a chance to see how they’re shaping up this year.

But we know that the Italians will always be a tough, physical challenge and for us to go to Rovigo next week and get the result, we know we must be more disciplined at the breakdown.

Too often we were guilty of hands in the ruck and going off our feet. These are things we will be working on this week because there is no excuse for ill-discipline and as the tournament progresses we know we will not be allowed to give away so many penalties and me punished.

Matt Kvesic in action for England Under 20

Photo: Getty Images

We need to learn when is the right time to compete for the ball, and when it is right to drop back into the line to defend. 

But for our first game together I was very pleased - especially with the new boys who came into the side.

Our back row particularly impressed me.

Chris Walker started at openside with last year’s No.7 Matt Kvesic shifting to the blindside.  It turned out to be a good move because we could utilise the carrying, spoiling and destructive carrying of both of them, while Jack Clifford had a good game at No.8.

We had a good balance to the side and thankfully there were no injuries so we travel to Italy on a high, determined to build the momentum.

One or two of us will find out this week if we are travelling to Italy as we may be needed for Premiership duty. Toby Flood made his comeback for Leicester yesterday off the bench, so I will have to wait and see.

George Ford was talking to The Rugby Paper, available every Sunday.