Bath’s Ford risks Eng­land ca­reer

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

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

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