‘Time is right’ for Ford’s debut

Tue, 18 Feb 2014 19:37
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Bath flyhalf George Ford is in line to make his England debut in Saturday's Six Nations clash against Ireland at Twickenham.

Bath flyhalf George Ford is in line to make his England debut in Saturday's Six Nations clash against Ireland at Twickenham.

The 20-year-old has been included in a 23-man squad ahead of the encounter while Brad Barritt was one of seven players that missed the cut on Tuesday.

The other players released are his Saracens teammate Chris Ashton, Gloucester duo Freddie Burns and Matt Kvesic, Bath pair Kyle Eastmond and Anthony Watson, Leicester Tigers duo Ed Slater and Ben Youngs, London Wasps’ Matt Mullan and Exeter Chiefs’ Tom Johnson.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster said: "We feel that the time is right to include George Ford in the matchday squad.

“A full three weeks of training has allowed him the chance to really understand the way we are developing our game and this time has been crucial in order for him to feel confident and ready in a key decision-making and leadership position.

"We have successfully integrated and included many young players over the last two years and George is the next exciting talent to make his mark in the senior squad and we are a looking forward to see him develop over the next few months.

"Brad Barritt is obviously disappointed to miss out but he is still a key member of our squad and I am sure he will get further opportunities in the future.

“He hasn't had much game time since his injury and will benefit from some time with Saracens over the next two weeks."

Dan Cole saw a specialist this evening regarding his neck and the results of the assessment will now be considered by the England and Leicester Tigers medical teams. A further update will be given on Thursday.

England squad:

Forwards: David Attwood, Dylan Hartley, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Joe Marler, Ben Morgan, Chris Robshaw, Henry Thomas, Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola, David Wilson, Tom Wood, Tom Youngs.
Backs: Mike Brown, Luther Burrell, Danny Care, Lee Dickson, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Alex Goode, Jonny May, Jack Nowell, Billy Twelvetrees.

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