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George Ford exit rumours begin to swirl once again

By Ian Cameron
George Ford of England receives a pass from Owen Farrell of England during a training session at Stade Ferdinand Petit on September 01, 2023 in Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, France. England will face Argentina in their first Rugby World Cup France 2023 match on September 9, 2023. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Sale Sharks and England standoff George Ford is once again being linked with an exit from Sale Sharks and the Gallagher Premiership – at least according to French outlet Midi Olympique.

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The flyhalf – who is currently with the England team in their World Cup training base in Le Touquet-Paris-Plage – is being tied to Stuart Lancaster’s Racing 92.

The Racing 92 rumours are nothing new – with The Rugby Paper reporting on it back in June – but Midi say that the Ford deal to Paris deal is still on the table, with the diminutive playmaker ‘being offered’ to the big spending French giants.

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One thing is clear, Sale would not be able to compete with the salary on offer from Racing 92. It is speculated that Ford could potentially double his salary from £400,000 per season to £800,000 if he were to make the move across the channel.

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Scotland flyhalf Finn Russell moved to Bath over the summer and currently Racing have just two flyhalves listed on their team page: the relatively low-key duo of Antoine Gilbert and Tristan Tedder.

Ford signed a “long-term contract” with Sale in 2021, of which he is just one season into.

Racing had been pursuing fellow England 10 Marcus Smith, who instead opted to stay at Harlequins. In July Ford revealed that Smith’s England teammates had been teasing the young playmaker about the move.

“Whatever the rumours were about Racing a few weeks ago, everyone was saying, ‘You were always going to stay at Quins, you were just using that as a bit of leverage’. I have spoken to him. Obviously, he is delighted to be staying, it’s his club and the influence he has on that team is incredible so I’m sure everyone at Quins will be buzzing for him to stay.

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“I can only speak for myself but when you’re English and you want to play for England, you’ve got to play for an English club. It means a lot to play at club level and international level for us all, it’s no different for Marcus.”

It seems that Ford is now in a similar position to Smith.

George Ford
George Ford of Sale Sharks looks on during the EPCR Challenge Cup Round Of Sixteen match between Cardiff Rugby and Sale Sharks at Cardiff Arms Park on April 01, 2023 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Ryan Hiscott/Getty Images for Sale Sharks)

Ford made his debut for Leicester Tigers in 2009, becoming the youngest rugby union player to make his professional debut in England, at just 16 years and 237 days.

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After winning a Premiership title with Tigers in 2013, he moved to Bath, winning the Gilbert Golden Boot as the top-points scorer and winning LV= Young Player of the Year, before returning to Leicester for the 2018-19 season.

In total he made 88 appearances for Leicester Tigers before signing with Alex Sanderson’s ambitious Sale Sharks.

He made his England debut in 2014 and has since gone on to win 77 caps. He played a key role as Eddie Jones’s men reached the World Cup final in 2019.

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15 Comments
c
colin 319 days ago

There has been alot of discussion about George Ford's 2022-23 season. I'm almost as bored as watching England under Mad Eddie. I think we can agree that noone, certainly not Ford, can be happy with his contribution to RU in this time frame. Is it his "fault", no. However Sale have paid him well and long for very little on-pitch time. Do I think he is a bad player or person, no! However were he to leave for France before next season, I and many other Sale fans would feel cheated. Buying England players is potentially a fool's errand if in addition to missing 13 weeks on England duty they are additionally injured. I hope Sanderson and others have learnt the lesson! England players are worth less to clubs than non-international players and .............. foreigners........... Makes you think?
PS. Where do you get your data from, Jack? 8 starts!!!!

J
Jack 320 days ago

Sorry for not replying to directly to you Colin but for some reason no replies I make are showing up.

I now understand why you made the comment you did - you have relied on the shoddy mess that is our club website. I can happily confirm Ford did indeed put in 8 80 minute performances at the end of the season. I am an avid Sale fan and tend to watch every match.

The website All Rugby is a lot more reliable for this sort of information. Really interesting to run through as well.

The Ford to Racing rumour is about the 24/25 season as well FYI.

c
colin 320 days ago

Dear Jack you are wrong. According to the Sale website, Fraud played 151mins out of 2320 or 6% of the time in the 2022-23 season (please take a look). Perhaps he played for another team as well or under a different name?
I watch Sale (not ever game) and remember his contribution as small, last season. Note Sale played very few home games in the last months of the season.
Without Dupreez (1508 out of 2320mins) and Warr, Sale wouldn't have been 2nd. I also thought Fraud was outplayed in the championship game by Farrell.
To take a team's money for effectively a year and then leave without ever having truly part of the team is poor and it remains to be seen as to whether Ford's time and reputation at Sale can be rescued.
I used to joke that younger supporters wouldn't even know who George Ford was!

J
Jack 320 days ago

I have only created an account due to the unbelievable tosh being spouted by my fellow commenters.

He was indeed injured until early February. During his time injured he took a one on one role mentorning RDP. RDP was player of the month (November i believe??) and was then nominated for player of the season. George helped make this happen and was constantly praised by Axe for his work behind the scenes.

His final 5 games were superb (he only started 9 all season). He led us to wins against Glos, Bristol, Newcastle and Leicester. We only just fell short against Sarries but his tactical game was excellent that day. He averaged almost 13 points a game with the team averaging almost 3 tries per game in that time. Sale finished in 2nd comfortably, only 5 points behind Saracens. His influence cannot be ignored.

He brought calm and composure and led us brilliantly. He attacked defences, fixing and both taking gaps and putting others through them. As far as I'm concerned he should be starting 10 for England given he was the form 10 at the end of the season and doesn't have a ban.

Specific question for Colin - Where is the disaster here? The injury? Well that's about it isn't it..... Him being picked for England in the 6 nations isn't exactly his fault (same as the unfortunate injury). Borthwick again I'm afraid.

c
colin 320 days ago

Ford has been a disaster at Sale, so far. Injured before the season started and picked for England when still "injured", on two occasions. Ford start one home game, Sale's last. He's contributed almost nothing to their success. Stealing a wage for almost 8 months? I believe that professional rugby players are free to get the best contract they can. Actually playing however is also important.

A
Anthony 321 days ago

Steve, I agree, Sale were winning with Du Preez scoring tries and running the back line, right up to FORD taking his place , lost 4 in a row. By the way, has anyone see a George Ford highlights video. No, thought not cos there isnt one , unlike Marcus who has run out of room on his.
He must be one of the most overated players in the prem and the press are as much to blame. They keep saying how well he runs the back line , right up to Sunday when they say Englands attack is non existant. At least he keeps the laundry ladies happy as his kit is always as clean at the end of the match as when he started. If its true then Sale will have got rid of a headache and put Du Preez back where he belongs .
Lets all pray for a good result Saturday and that Borthwick has listened to the rest of the country and ditched the awful spiral bombs that Ford/Youngs has performed increasingly badly. Trouble is , can he run with the ball and score some tries. Can he show some bloody leadership . 70 odd caps and we are all thinking the same . If he could , he would have shown it by now.
Good luck with this Racing !!!

K
KiwiSteve 321 days ago

The French audience would lose their shit if Ford joined Racing. 80 minutes of spiral bomb hoofs. Ford has been injured all season. No form. Old and injury prone. From Russell to Ford... What are Racing thinking?

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