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Ford faces missing start of new season at new club Sale - report

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

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George Ford is believed to be an injury doubt for the start of next season at his new club Sale as an operation will be required to mend the achilles damage that forced him off after just 24 minutes last Saturday in his final match for Leicester. The out-half was forced to watch the majority of the Gallagher Premiership decider from the sidelines after he fell awkwardly near the touchline during the first half versus Saracens.

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He was seen wearing a moon boot to protect his right leg during the celebrations that followed the Leicester victory that was sealed by Freddie Burns’ dramatic last drop goal after he had come on in place of the injured Ford.

Having forced his way back into the England frame during the recent Guinness Six Nations, coming off the bench in four of the matches for Eddie Jones, Saturday’s injury with Leicester made the out-half unavailable for selection for the upcoming tour to Australia.

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It meant that instead of fighting for inclusion in the England squad that flew out to Australia on Tuesday for the three-Test series, Ford was reportedly getting ready for surgery later this week. Leicester have offered no details on the extent of the Ford injury since Saturday’s win and England were also vague at Monday’s announcement of its 36-man squad, listing Ford as one of ten players unavailable through injury but without stating what exactly the problem was.

However, Sportsmail have reported it to be an achilles issue and it will require an operation to mend, potentially leaving the 29-year-old Ford in a race to be fit in time for the start of the 2022/23 Premiership season at Sale, the club it was announced last November that he would be joining.

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“Sportsmail has learned that Ford damaged his right achilles and now faces the prospect of a long lay-off,” read the report. “It is understood that he was due to have a scan on Monday and is poised to have surgery later this week. While the recovery time frame is not yet known, that type of injury can require a rehabilitation period of several months.”

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Ford missing the start of the new season would be a blow to Sale as they had trumpeted how the seasoned England international was a massive signing after losing AJ MacGinty, their first choice No10 for 2021/22 to Bristol, as well as Springboks pair Faf de Klerk and Lood de Jager, who will play in Japan next term.

It was last November when Sale originally unveiled Ford, a regular visitor to his nearby hometown of Saddleworth, as a new signing. “Look, it’s none of your business really but he [Ford] is not on much more than what AJ’s got paid, so do the maths there. We’re not losing out much there,” said Sharks boss Alex Sanderson at the time.

“These are things we spoke about: Where the club is at, the ambition of the club, what we are trying to build and what you can do to be a part of the fabric of the north. Which one of those had a greater influence?

“Being the man he is, I’d probably say the latter two. How could you argue with Leicester doing as well as there they are that it was purely about rugby? If it was purely about the rugby he would probably have stayed where he is. Steve Borthwick has done a great job there.”

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