Ford on mission to bulk up
July 16, 2012
Former IRB Young Player of the Year George Ford is set for more game time with the Tigers this season © PA Photos
A new-look George Ford is set to feature for Leicester during the forthcoming campaign with the Tigers hoping he will put on one-and-a-half stone in pre-season.
A relatively lightweight Ford made just 15 appearances last season, featuring strongly in their run to the Anglo-Welsh Cup title and the Aviva Premiership final, but is set for an expanded role this season with the Tigers keen to ensure he is up to the physical challenge.
The 19-year-old fly-half weighed in at 12st 8lbs for last season but Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill is hoping he will tip the scales at around the 14st mark in time for the season-opener against London Welsh on September 2.
A former IRB Player of the Year, an in-form Ford looked set to tour South Africa with England earlier this summer but was omitted from selection with Cockerill and England boss Stuart Lancaster agreeing that he would benefit better from a full pre-season.
Ford is not guaranteed his place in the side with fellow playmakers Toby Flood and Dan Bowden set to compete for the No.10 shirt but Cockerill wants him ready to be able to step up and shoulder the workload if required.
"We want George to be as big as he can be - but we need to be sensible with that too," Cockerill told the Leicester Mercury. "We would like him to be a little bit bigger and a little bit heavier so he can be more robust.
"In turn, that will help him guard against injuries when he plays. He is never going to be Manu Tuilagi's size but we would like him to be touching 90kgs just for his own safety and so that he doesn't get injured."
In related news, Leicester are hopeful that loose-head prop Boris Stankovich will be fit for the start of the season following shoulder surgery with first-choice Marcos Ayerza on Rugby Championship duty with Argentina for the first few weeks of the season.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin
After Brian O'Driscoll's emotional final Ireland appearance on home soil, and seeing the Six Nations boil down to a three-horse race, we bring you the Weekend in PIctures
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year