George Ford set for Tigers call-up?
May 11, 2012
Fly-half Toby Flood is set to start against Saracens for Leicester © Getty Images
Leicester have named injury doubt Toby Flood in their starting line-up to face Saracens in their Aviva Premiership semi-final clash on Saturday - but teenager George Ford is reportedly on red alert to step in.
Flood sustained an ankle injury in the Tigers' final match of the regular season against Bath last Saturday and was considered a '50-50' chance at best for the Welford Road showdown but retains his place in the line-up. Youngster George Ford had been widely expected to take on the playmaker role but fails to make the matchday squad with Billy Twelvetrees set to provide cover off the bench. However, rumours persist that Ford may be a late addition to the team with Flood's injury remaining a major concern.
Ford, 19, is the son of former England defence coach Mike Ford, and he has impressed on his previous Leicester outings, notably this season's Anglo-Welsh Cup final when Tigers beat Northampton and he scored 16 points. He is the current International Rugby Board Junior Player of the Year while he made his professional rugby union debut aged 16.
Leicester, meanwhile, will not struggle for motivation when they tackle reigning league champions Saracens. While Tigers have enjoyed an imperious march into the title semi-finals for an eighth successive season, losing just one of their last 16 league games, one result still hurts.
Last September, with the World Cup under way in New Zealand and several Premiership clubs weakened as a result, Saracens achieved the unthinkable and scored 50 points on Leicester soil.
"I was in New Zealand at the time and was checking the results on the internet," Leicester skipper Geordan Murphy said. "I remember being surprised that Sarries had put that many points on us.
"They were pretty pleased with it, so we have to use that as motivation to go out and have a good game on Saturday. I am sure all of the boys will remember that. We were missing 12 guys at the World Cup, but it showed what sort of a side Saracens are. If we don't perform, we will be in trouble."
Saracens narrowly beat the Tigers in last season's Premiership final, and they have also won on three successive Welford Road visits, which represents the best sequence by any away team at Leicester since Harlequins completed five victories 34 years ago.
Assessing the Tigers test, Saracens rugby director Mark McCall said: "It's a massive match. We've had a very good week of preparation, but we know it is going to be a very tough game and we will have to be at our best to get the result we want."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
In the blink of an eye, a winger can go from a hero to villain. Hugh Godwin talks to Zac Guildford and David Strettle about life on the flank
Munster, No.8s, the imploding Australians, wonderful Glasgow and Lancaster's dilemma - it is Monday Maul time
As Ewen McKenzie exits stage left, the ARU remains under huge pressure, with CEO Bill Pulver feeling the brunt of Australian rugby's displeasure, Greg Growden writes
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the remarkable events in Brisbane and the first round of the European Rugby Champions Cup