No Ford family reunion
NEWS: Any chance of England flyhalf George Ford giving up his international career to rejoin his father at Toulon has been kicked into touch.
George played under his Mike Ford at Bath before the latter was sacked. That led to Mike heading to France to initially become the backline coach at the big-spending Toulon but was appointed head coach in October in place of former Italy international Diego Dominguez.
That appointment sent the rumour mill into overdrive with speculation that father and son could be re-united but George insisted that he will not be giving up his international career and will remain in England.
England's policy of not selecting overseas-based players for Test duty, except in "exceptional circumstances" pre-dates Eddie Jones's reign and one the Australian is determined to uphold.
"I don't know what was going on there last week, to be honest. It was news to me, anyway. Obviously, my dad's there but I want to play for England so I want to play in England.
"After it all came out I had a quick chat with Eddie and said, 'I don't know where all that's come from'," Ford said of the speculation.
Ford did not rule out playing overseas at a much later stage in his career, saying: "I think it would be a great life experience playing somewhere like France.
"It is a different way of playing and living, you'd probably see the sun and the beach a lot more. I'll see where I am in a few years' time," he added.
But right now Ford's focus is on helping England make it 10 wins out of 10 under Jones when they face the Springboks, a team they have not beaten since 2006.
This weekend's clash is set to see Ford and childhood friend Owen Farrell continue their twin playmaker partnership at flyhalf and inside centre respectively. A niggling injury meant that Farrell was sidelined for six weeks at the start of the season.
But his return saw the goal-kicker produce a display as reigning English and European champions Saracens beat Toulon 33-21 on October 15.
"I wasn't surprised by Owen's form. He would have been on top of things constantly even if he was not training to his full capacity. He is obsessed with the game," Ford stated.
Farrell is one of three England players on a six-strong shortlist for World Rugby's Player of the Year award, together with Billy Vunipola and Maro Itoje - also two of his teammates at London club Saracens.
The winner will be announced on Sunday.
"There have been some outstanding performers in the team and those three especially. Other players could have made it as well," he added.