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Ford and Heathcote go head-to-head in LV= semi

08 March 2012

  • England Under 20 fly halves to take on each other in LV= semi
  • He’s got all the skills needed from a fly half – Ford on Heathcote
George Ford in action for Leicester Tigers

Photo: Getty Images

England Under 20 fly halves George Ford, 18, and Tom Heathcote, 20, will lock horns this Friday night when Leicester and Bath meet in the first of this season’s LV= Cup semi finals. 

Just last month the pair lined up alongside each other for England’s 59-3 win over Scotland in the opening game of the Under 20 Six Nations, and while they are full of admiration for each other’s talents, there will be no love lost come Friday evening.

Reigning IRB Junior Player of the Year Ford said of his fellow No. 10: “Tom’s been brilliant for Bath this year, he’s also been great for the 20s when he’s been in the camps and proved his worth when he came on against Scotland.

“He’s got all the skills needed from a fly half; he can run, he can pass, he can kick and he’s quite a big lad so we’ll have to be wary of him – particularly the form he’s been in. He’s a good player, and a good lad too.”

Having made his Leicester debut against Northampton in the competition aged just 16 back in 2009, Ford appreciates the value of the LV= Cup more than most.

Massively looking forward to the game – Ford

“What’s great about the LV= Cup is the opportunity it gives to younger players,” he added. “There have been loads of young guys who have come in for their respective clubs and shown that they can really mix it at first team level and that’s what you want to see.

“I’m massively looking forward to the game on Friday, we’ve had a good run in the LV= Cup this year so we’ll take on Bath full of confidence and we’re hopeful of getting a result.

“Winning the Cup would be a massive achievement for the club, it’s something I’d love to do, but we can’t look any further than Bath on Friday night. They’ll be up for it and we’re going to give it our best shot.”

Bath No. 10 Tom Heathcote

Photo: Getty Images

Heathcote has been in impressive form for Bath of late. A virtuoso performance against Worcester in last weekend’s 36-17 win earned rave reviews for the former Bishop Wordsworth's School student, but the 20-year-old appreciates the threat of Ford.

He said: “George is a quality player. I first played with him at Under 16 level and then through 18s before linking up again at 20s – he has a great skill set.

“Technically he is very good, he’s an awesome kicker, he’s a good passer and he’s very good at taking the ball to the line. He’s an all-round threat and we’ll have to defend against him very carefully. He has great vision and can really capitalise on space, but we’ll be up against 14 other very good players as well so we’ll need to be on our toes throughout.”

Friday’s game can’t come soon enough for Heathcote, who added: “I can’t wait for the game on Friday, I’ve had a few opportunities to play over the past few weeks and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

"It’s a big game against Leicester, it always is when we play them, and with it being a semi final as well, there’s a big chance for us to push on and hopefully get to the final and win some silverware.”