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Ford backs Walker to lead troops in France

06 March 2012

  • George Ford says that Walker is a leader
  • He puts his body on the line – Ford
England Under 20 captain George Ford

Photo: Getty Images

England Under 20 captain George Ford says that the side are in good hands with stand in skipper Chris Walker.

Leeds flanker Walker has taken the reins in Ford’s absence, due to Aviva Premiership commitments with Leicester Tigers, and has led the side to Six Nations wins against Wales and Italy, and Ford, who played in the first game against Scotland, is quick to praise the 20-year-old.

“Waka [Walker] has done brilliantly, even when I was there for the first game he was training like a real leader anyway, so he’s slotted into the role with ease. He hasn’t done too bad a job guiding to boys to two wins and hopefully he can carry it on this weekend.

“He’s a good leader and puts his body on the line, and I think with Matt Kvesic in there at blindside we’ve got a very powerful back row.”

Ford has enjoyed first team game time with Leicester these last few weeks –including 15 minutes against Gloucester last weekend – but says that he’s still cheering his Under 20 teammates on from afar.

England Under 20 flanker Chris Walker

Photo: Getty Images

“I’ve watched every game and I’ve been texting the lads and Rob [Hunter] to wish them luck and to see how it’s all going,” he said. “By all accounts it’s been really good, they’ve been playing well and fingers crossed they can keep it going over in France this weekend.

“It will be tough in Vannes, the French gave us a really hard game in tricky conditions when we played them in Worcester last year but I think we’ve got the squad to go out there and do a good job.”

Another fly half with Under 20 aspirations is Bath stand-off Tom Heathcote. The 20-year-old, like Ford, played in the Six Nations opener against Scotland, but has been kept back by Bath to compete in their Premiership matches.

He said:  “I’ve tried to watch as much of it as I can. It’s good to see your mates and guys you know well performing on the international stage. They’re playing very well at the moment – winning games and scoring some lovely tries, so it’s great to see. It’s a bit disappointing not being able to be a part of it all, but I’m thoroughly enjoying my time with Bath at the moment.”