Ford: I was Jonny’s flat­mate. Now I am carer and life coach

Coach Jones is ready to part­ner two club-mates with a rare chem­istry – both on and off the field

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Rugby Union - By Mick Cleary RUGBY COR­RE­SPON­DENT

The odd cou­ple off the field, the right-on-the-money cou­ple on the field, Ge­orge Ford and Jonny May have worked won­ders in tan­dem for their new club, Le­ices­ter.

Ford, the fly-half, has set in mo­tion a Tigers back-line that has reaped riches for the fast-mov­ing wing May, who has scored 10 tries in his first nine games for the club. A re­union in Eng­land colours is in the off­ing at Twick­en­ham on Satur­day af­ter May re­cov­ered from the ham­string strain that ruled him out of last week­end’s game against Ar­gentina and was re­tained in the 25-man squad to take on Aus­tralia.

The pair are an un­likely al­liance: Ford, the metic­u­lous one, hy­per­pre­pared, spot­less-kit ob­ses­sive, all groomed and or­dered, while May has al­ways been some­thing of a space cadet, other-worldly, a one­time chum of pop star Ed Sheeran, who had gui­tar lessons from May’s mum, a trou­ba­dour, a per­son­al­ity who seems wrapped up in his own world, paving his own way in life as he does to the try-line, of­ten flout­ing con­ven­tion with his mazy, un­pre­dictable run­ning. But he is fast, faster than any in Eng­land and prob­a­bly with­out peer in the global stakes on speed alone. Even Ed­die Jones strug­gles to pin him down, re­mark­ing on Mon­day that he con­stantly tries to make May aware of just how good he can be.

“I tell him ev­ery day, mate,” said the Eng­land head coach. “It goes in one ear and out the other.”

Yet, some­how, May has thrived within his own bub­ble, his far­away air be­ly­ing his own zeal­ous com­mit­ment to be­com­ing an es­tab­lished in­ter­na­tional wing.

May works his socks off. Hence the move to Le­ices­ter, to fur­ther those am­bi­tions. It has paid off, with his record early-sea­son try haul as well as the re­cent set­ting of a per­sonal best in train­ing for speed tests.

Ford has been wit­ness to the blos­som­ing of May’s tal­ent in Le­ices­ter colours, ini­tially pro­vid­ing a room for his new team-mate. The lodg­ing ar­range­ment was not a per­fect fit, May in­ad­ver­tently ru­in­ing a new suede rug that Ford had pur­chased for the home he shares with his girl­friend when he brought home a take­away meal that leaked through the pack­ag­ing. “Jonny is high main­te­nance, a nice guy but I had to kick him out af­ter three weeks or our friend­ship would have de­te­ri­o­rated,” said Ford. “It took the lads at Le­ices­ter a while to work him out be­cause he can come across as quite strange at first. If you spend all day with him at train­ing you just want to come home and chill out. But Jonny is non-stop. He knows how to wind peo­ple up. He used to come home and go straight into the lounge and lie on the sofa as if it was his, get the TV re­mote and that would an­noy me straight away. He is a mate but he would just take it a step too far.”

May did do the de­cent thing and bought a new rug. The de­par­ture from Glouces­ter was a wrench for a player who had come through the academy there. The 27-year-old, though, upped sticks, a tran­si­tion that was not with­out its dif­fi­cul­ties. Ford used to give May a lift into train­ing but would leave by him­self on the pre-match Fri­day train­ing

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