Bath’s Ford risks England career
Bath flyhalf George Ford can wave his England career goodbye if he makes the switch to French rugby to link up with his father Mike at Toulon, national coach Eddie Jones has said.
According to French media reports, Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal has expressed an interest in bringing the 23year-old to the top 14 side, where Mike is head coach. With English rugby’s governing body (RFU) prohibiting players from outside the domestic set-up to be selected for the national side, Jones said the choice for Ford was clear.
“It’s an easy choice - you either sign for an English club or you sign for a French club. If you sign for a French club, you don’t play for England,” Jones told British media.
“Obviously we don’t want to lose George, but ultimately he’s got to make a decision about whether he wants to play for England. He’s responsible for his own decision. “We want him to play for England. He knows that we want him to play for England, but he’s got to want to play for England. “Let’s get one thing straight here, we want to be the number one team in the world. To be the number one team in the world we need players who absolutely desire to play for England.”
Since Jones took over the England reigns from Stuart Lancaster after a dismal World Cup campaign last year, Ford has started in eight of the nine matches under the Australian.
Jones backed the RFU’s policy of excluding players based at foreign clubs.
“It protects English rugby for the long term. You’ve only got to look at what’s happened in France, where foreign players have been allowed to escalate to over 5060 percent, and you have massive problems for the national game,” Jones said.
“You take some short-term pain for the long-term gain. This is not an Englishman talking. For the long-term future of the game we need to look after the Premiership.” England’s autumn series begins against South Africa at Twickenham on Nov. 12. England also play Fiji on Nov. 19, Argentina on Nov. 26 and Australia on Dec. 3. — Reuters